Jimi Hendrix Electric Lady Mural
On August 26th, 1970, Jimi Hendrix celebrated the official opening of his Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan’s West Village. Artist Lance Jost was commissioned to paint the studio in a psychedelic space theme. In the April 2010 Issue of Rolling Stone, David Fricke dives into Hendrix’s last days and lost recordings, tracing the epic plans and earthly troubles that marked the guitar god’s final months.
In response to Jimi Hendrix’ request to create space, artist, Lance Jost has painted you into the interior of the Electric Lady Cosmic Craft with full views of your eminent relationship to eternity as you are hurtling through endless space; riding along the Rainbow Bridge to “kiss the sky.”
Lance Jost welcomes the challenge to create your imagination in vividly depicted style and a broad spectrum of unique materials.
Behind the Scenes
I was commissioned by Michael Jefferey, Jimi Hendrix’ manager to do an album cover for a European rock group he was handling called Moon. At his request I delivered the artwork to Jimi’s roadie, Gerry Stickell’s backstage at his concert at the San Diego Sports Arena July 25, 1970.
Jimi was so impressed with my imagery of space that he requested that I paint it into a mural in his Electric Lady Studio.
After waiting for months to begin work on the mural, I was finally packing my paint brushes on September 19, 1970. Imagine my shock when I heard through a friend that Jimi had died the day before in London, England. It had to be a sick joke. But later that day I found out it was true.
Because of all the turmoil and indecision after Jimi’s death, I didn’t actually take off for New York City until three months later, where I found the mood dire to say the least and felt I needed to cheer people up and add color in an otherwise dreary atmosphere.
The mural was actually painted in a loft, my living quarters on 4th Avenue overlooking the Cooper Union Building. Since the mural was going to be 100 feet long, it required enough space to stretch the canvas out on the walls. Since the loft was large enough, periodically the studio ran a group of musicians through, putting them up while they recorded. You’ve never experienced extremes until you’ve lived with a bunch of inebriated rock musicians.
One day at the studio while sitting in on a recording session I was introduced to a painting instructor from the New York Academy of Fine Art who told me that he had studied with Hans Hoffmann at the renowned School of Abstract Expressionism, the most pervasive art movement in the world over the last eighty years. Being an artist, I was understandably impressed. Then he added that it was in the same building, Electric Lady Studio, where the famed collaboration between Hoffmann and Jackson Pollack actually occurred.
After three months of research, it took another six to complete the Electric Lady Cosmic Craft mural. When I started stapling the 100-foot long canvas on the wall a kind of cathartic experience happened. Secretaries, engineers, roadies, managers, musicians all started coming out of their offices to witness the unveiling. Eddie Kramer, Jimi’s favorite engineer walked up to me and put out his hand. “I had no idea what you were doing here. This is amazing.” The room hushed. Everyone started crying and hugging each other because Jimi wasn’t there to enjoy it. I’d think my imagery had that effect on people.