“I stand up next to a mountain
and chop it down with the edge of my hand.”
Two men that have been on my mind of late. Both giants in their chosen professions. Both seemingly gifted with an otherworldly imagination. The true abiltiy to look at the elements our reality in an entirely different way than anyone else and the singularly monstrous talent to be able to give others a window into the fantastic worlds that existed/exist only within their own supremely individualistic minds.
I had forgotten the real world connection between the two until browsing through and old Epic Comics book, The Art of Moebius, published in 1989. You remember Epic, right? Small offshoot of Marvel devoted to more “graphic novel” type stuff, as it was called at the time. One of Jim Shooter’s few rational acts as head beanbag at Marvel back in the day, edited by stalwarts Archie Goodwin and Al Milgrom, it was supposed to feature creator owned stuff but eventually blended in the Marvel Universe.
Anyway, rambling tangents aside, they put out a decent Moebius retrospective and I spotted this while leafing through it for the first time in 20 years. Jean Giraud’s cover for this French album is an astonishing display of his style and talent. And it’s a lure to wander the pathways of Hendrix’ music, as well, to become entranced by that wonderfully blood pumping rock sound, so fucking raw and strong, so seductively trippy. I would stand in awe of each man if I wasn’t sporting such an embarrassing envy-boner for Moebius’ art in this piece. I wish I could draw like this, I really do.
Click on the pic for a larger copy. See the ridiculous level of detail and interest in even the smallest corner of the drawing. The alienness of everything, the miniature containers of nebulous articles. A man in the grip of His Particular Substance. The drops of blood.
Giraud’s notes for the piece are slightly jarring, poignant.
“When I was asked to do the cover for this French Jimi Hendrix album, I felt good because it was a unique opportunity for me to openly express by[sic] feelings about Hendrix. For me, he was a genius, an incredibly free a deep musical genius. A source of inspiration. At the same time, the whole experience was sad, even dangerous in a way. I put a lot of feelings inside that drawing.
I felt that maybe Hendrix had killed himself in order to reach higher levels. I tried to show this by drawing things coming out of his head. And the drugs are symbolized by what he is shown eating – things that are alive, yet alien. I also showed the world around him, an insane and violent world. and Hendrix is doing his thing, alone and apart from that world. It is very sad.”
Therein lies the core of it.