Sunday, May 10, 2015

18. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced

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This small project was totally unplanned; I never imagined that the finished work would come out this way. To say it differently, I just kept on exploring possibilities and experimenting with
new tools until I finally decided to stop. When I did, the work came out this way. 

I began with the replace colour and found that after repeated tries I could obtain the colours of the florescent paints that we used to paint the psychedelic posters that decorated
our walls back in the 1970s - without changing the colour of the calligraphy and the image of the band at centre. Next, I experimented with different
levels of the stylize/extrude; and then I decided that the desired effect should emulate the globs of coloured lights that circled sleepily above our
heads as we listened to the music while we stood still on the dance floor. We were drunk or we were high. If not, we pretended to be. 

In 1966-71 my parents sent me to a provincial high school that was owned and managed by the Roman Catholic Church. We
were far from the city. We usually hung out at a store nearby where we could share the latest news and I would go
directly to the movie section to see what's showing and what's coming. "Woodstock" was coming to the city.
Before I got the chance to see it first run, Jimi Hendrix was dead.

I came to the city in 1971 to go to college (and work). There was an old dilapidated theatre at a marketplace
with only electric fans to circulate the heavy air that reeked of sweat even from the outside. The
posters were old and torn and faded. The mud that caked the sidewalk led to the ticket booth
and inside. I swore to myself I will never be in a place like this. But one fateful day, 
"Woodstock" was showing. I lived to tell the story. With neither shame nor glory.

This the original cover art design on the album's release for North America. 

No. 2, Rate Your Music, The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time; No. 15, Rolling Stone, The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time;
No. 26, Entertainment Weekly, 100 Greatest Albums Ever; No. 63, The Virgin All-Time Album Top 1000.

Art design and photo by Karl Ferris. Album produced by Chas Chandler. Track (UK), Reprise (US) 1967.

Jimi Hendrix disliked the UK cover of Are You Experienced, so arrangements were made for a photo shoot with graphic designer Karl Ferris. Hendrix wanted "something psychedelic", so he requested
Ferris because he appreciated the photographer's sleeve-work on The Hollies' Evolution. During a meeting with the band, Ferris told Hendrix that he wanted to hear more of their 
music from which to draw inspiration. They accommodated his request by allowing him to attend several sessions for their second album, Axis:Bold as Love.

Ferris brought home tapes from the sessions, which along with Are You Experienced he listened to intently. His first impression of the music was that it was "so far out that
it seemed to come from outer space", which inspired him to develop a backstory about a "group travelling through space in a Biosphere on their way to bring
their unworldly space music to earth." With this concept in mind, he took colour photographs of the band at Kew Gardens in London, using a
fisheye lens which was then popular in Mod sub-culture. Ferris used what (author Sean) Egan described as "an infrared technique
of his own invention which combined colour reversal with heat signature", further enhancing the exotic nature of the image. 

Ferris was an experienced fashion photographer, and his interest in the finer details of his covers led him to choose the band's wardrobe. After seeing
Hendrix with his hair combed away from the scalp, Ferris requested that he wear it that way during the photo shoot. Hendrix's girlfriend,
Kathy Etchingham, trimmed his hair to improve its symmetry, forming an afro that became the basis of a homogenized
Experience image. Ferris chose the cover's yellow background and its surreal lettering, and he intended
for a textured gatefold jacket that Reprise, as a cost-saving measure, did not approve. Full article

(A) Purple Haze - Manic Depression - Hey Joe - Love or Confusion - May This Be Love - I Don't Live Today

(B) The Wind Cries Mary - Fire - Third Stone from the Sun - Foxy Lady - Are You Experienced?

"The Wind Cries Mary" live from mjchris54 on YouTube.