Martin Sharp’s Hendrix Explosion was printed by Big O Posters 1968 on thin paper stock and remains in mint condition.Size 91×116 cm (36×48 inch)
Exploding Jimi Hendrix is a psychedelic rock art piece created by Martin Sharp with color process lithograph. It is based on an original photograph of Jimi Hendrix taken by Linda Eastman McCartney at a New York concert. “He traced Hendrix from a photograph by Linda Eastman (later McCartney), and splattered it with colour paint in the style of Jackson Pollock.” (The Telegraph, 2013)
It is worth noting that Jimi Hendrix was a left-handed guitarist, though Sharp portrayed Hendrix as a right handed. Later Sharp created a reprint in which he corrected the error and portrayed Hendrix as left handed. The corrected version was titled The Electric Circus in Oz magazine number 17 in 1967. It is this second, corrected version that is most well known. In later years, Sharp used oil and acrylic paint to create a large version of the original print. This version also displayed Jimi Hendrix correctly as left-handed, and was also printed as a poster.
Martin Sharp was living in London at the time he created Exploding Jimi Hendrix, and he saw Hendrix perform and also met him in person for dinner. Sharp’s poster greatly reflected the influence of Jackson Pollock with the use of bright red, yellow, green, purple, and blue paint. However, Sharp did not use the colorful Jackson-inspired picture when it came time to make the poster. In his blog, Organ states that “It is flatter and not as complex or dynamic as the original painting…”
Sharp was apparently never satisfied several of his works, and he continued to retouch and improve them in the later years of his life. The Exploding Jimi Hendrix art piece underwent 12 iterations from the original in 1968, with a watercolor version done on paper which was made into a poster. In July 1969, a silkscreened poster was produced, followed by a second poster version based on the original OZ magazine image in 1968. In 1971, Sharp produced a copy of the original painted on mylar. There were further iterations in 1976, 1995, 2004, 2009, 2010, and 2013.
Sharp was interviewed in 2013 shortly before his death. In the interview, the reporter noted that “the image of Jimi Hendrix, his guitar exploding with red-hot energy, is propped on an easel in Martin Sharp’s cluttered dining room.” (Organ, 2014) Sharp is probably still working on Exploding Jimi Hendrix even now, in the afterlife.
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