Recently discovered original paintings by Hendrix the American Rock & Roll legend show that this musical icon was also a talented visual artist.
In 1972, Van den Heuvel, an art and antique dealer, purchased a collection of Hendrix's watercolor paintings. He placed the rare works of art in storage until 2004, when he had them authenticated. Hendrix Original Art Expressions, Inc. obtained copyrights to the impressive and colorful images and reproduced some of these masterworks in the form of limited edition graphics; art on clothing; and on other forms of exclusive decor.
Bob and Kathy Levine, Hendrix's publicity agents in the U.S., say that Jimi carried sketchpads and art boards with him and was often seen drawing his vivid images. Some of the paintings appear to have begun as small doodles which he developed into intricate highly involved images. Those familiar with his method of painting say Hendrix worked with 5 or 6 watercolor pens held between the fingers of his right hand as his other hand deftly created the amazingly intricate designs. All of the original art works in this outstanding collection have been examined and authenticated by Leon Hendrix, brother of the artist and a founder of the prestigious James Marshall (Jimi) Hendrix Foundation of Seattle, Washington.
Jimi's outlook on art took a different turn when in 1965 he met Arthur Lee the musician and producer of several psychedelic record albums. This experience, along with his starting to use acid and other hard drugs in 1966 began the change in Jimi's style of dress and his expressions in fine art. His paintings represent brightly colored fanciful figures and inventive forms in various sizes, with the smallest being about 4 inches and the larger ones approximately 18 inches. All are powerful, highly creative and unique hallucinogenic works of art. One of the reasons Jimi's art works are always immediate, intimate and precise is because he was extremely nearsighted and never wore glasses. Oddly his biographers report that as a young boy in school Jimi displayed special talent in art, but had no early interest in music.
Charles R. Cross in his Hendrix biography, "Room Full of Mirrors" reports that in 1951, as a 3rd grader, Jimi would draw pictures of automobiles in his school notepads and by the time he was 12 years old, although not a good student, he showed promise in art. His interest in drawing automobiles was so intense that he even sent some of his car designs to the Ford Motor Company. Cross also writes that in 1957 Jimi at the age of 15, had seen Elvis leaving a concert in Seattle and subsequently drew Elvis holding a guitar similar to his own. As a young musician, he also placed illustrations on his letters and postcards such as drawings of his guitar.
Several things are certain about the artwork of Jimi Hendrix: his artistic endeavors were intimate expressions created from his own personal reflection and his interest in art continued throughout his short life. Jimi always did things his own way, including his vibrant and expressive watercolor paintings. He also told of how he related colors to emotions and that his music was an effort to play in colors. This rock and blues legend not only branded his own enduring style of music, but his unique and masterful paintings will also immortalize his fame in the fine arts