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     I began drawing “funny animal” cartoons with crayons at age 3 and created my own coloring books featuring original characters. My earliest visual influences were afternoon and Saturday morning animated cartoons, commercial coloring books and comics, and later, animated Dizney features, archetypal fantasy, legendary heroic adventures, and monster movies. A little later I discovered Rock ‘n Roll music, *“Mad” readers, and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth monster shirts, and even later, Rick Griffin’s “Murphy” strips.
          * (with original pen and ink work from Harvey Kurtzman,
          Will Elder, Jack Davis, Basel Wolverton, & Wally Wood)

     Somewhere in the late ‘60’s, the anti-establishment consciousness-expansion movement became popular and I was captivated and impressed by the new wave of San Francisco-style psychedelic poster and comic book art while being inspired by the progressive, exploratory, omni-dimensional evolution occurring in popular music. Around this time I was doing pastel portraits of musicians (Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, etc.), psychedelic paintings (often based on themes from current recordings), and designing posters for local Rock concerts. Further years were spent painting signs for businesses, on vehicles, designing graphics, logos, original pen & ink comic strips, T-shirts, music-related art, and paintings on canvas. I attended concerts regularly, occasionally meeting performers and viewing most popular bands who toured the West coast, including The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1968. He seemed to represent the apex of audial spirituality/musical consciousness-expansion, presenting something magically special that was beyond compare at each listening, merging one into colorful primal essences and previously unconscious cerebral dimensions.
     After moving to northern New Mexico in 1978, I resumed artistic endeavors and had my first one-man show of musician/celebrity paintings in the Fall of 1984 at a Taos Gallery. Continuing to do graphics, signs, and posters, I produced further exhibits of portraits of artists from the entertainment industry (see “Other Personalities” button) including the consummate entertainer and essential music personality: Jimi Hendrix.
     From 1989, I became intrigued with cultivating an ongoing body of Jimi paintings which continued on into the new millennium, working several hours a day for many years, and later, at lesser intervals. Through this period, I had the opportunity to research the life and brief career of J.M.H. digesting many biographies and articles. While what is now “Kiss the Sky” began taking shape, I presented over a dozen art exhibits of Jimi and friends and a couple all-Hendrix shows, acquiring local reviews and featured interviews.
     Working mostly from small B&W magazine photos and blown-up xerographic collaged elements, I experimented with the medium, compiling a variety of pieces, including fantasy illustrations of Hendrix songs utilizing imagery suggested by his themes and lyrics - (See Part 5 - Interpretations). All these years later, I was creating my own coloring book pages again, enjoying the process immensely. Coloration consists of acrylics, pastels, watercolors, chalks and inks applied in washes, impastos, under/over-painting combinations, sponging and splattering, with stencil and montage techniques. Recently, a few computer-generated digital art compositions have also been added. The ultimate result, “Kiss the Sky” is revealed in this website.
     With continual “A’s” in art, I have attended UNM for several years, hold a B.A. Certificate in Digital Graphic Design, and should graduate with an Associates Degree in Visual Arts in 2010.
     Jimi Hendrix introduced unorthodox chords, modages, special effects, and approach to the conveyance of sound, creating a unique sense of hypnotic spatiality, in the studio and live, as well.
     Combining psycho-cosmological themes and prophetically imaginative lyrics, he invoked an uncanny super-naturalism into the modern audial experience, suggesting the personage of a time/space traveler from the future!
     The impact of Jimi’s music remains original, exceptional, virtually unparalleled and consistently entertaining and popular 4 decades beyond his passing indicating that he was a luminescent, creative artist who successfully merged intuitive musical genius and philosophical lyrical insight with uncommon virtuosity, sharing his talents selflessly.
     I always felt a special musical relationship with Jimi via his albums, which were played at sanctified times with conscious reverence. I felt renewed appreciation with each new listening. On psychedelics, *“Electric Ladyland” transformed the world outside into a living **“Fantasia” wonderland. This cosmic relationship has developed through the 20-year course of preparing this series into a beautiful metaphysical rapport, always mystical, profound, and mutually rewarding.
          *(the song) **(the Disney movie)
     I feel unusually honored to have had the privilege of enhancing the continuing positive legacy of Jimi Hendrix while transforming conceptualizations of his music into visual art. Appreciation of the work here displayed should evoke a pleasant if not sentimental reminiscence of J.M.H. and provoke reflection upon his incredible contribution to the musical and consciousness evolution of planet Earth.
          L. R. Parker
          Fall, 2010



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