Behold Moebius’ Many Psychedelic Illustrations of Jimi Hendrix

The 1995 release of posthu­mous Jimi Hen­drix com­pi­la­tion Voodoo Soup has divid­ed fans and crit­ics for over two decades now. But what­ev­er its mer­its, its cov­er art should hold an hon­ored place in every Hen­drix fan’s col­lec­tion. Drawn by the leg­endary cult com­ic artist Moe­bius from a pho­to­graph of Hen­drix eat­ing soup in France, it cap­tures the sound Hen­drix was mov­ing toward at the end of his life—his head explod­ing in flames, or mush­room clouds, or pink psy­che­del­ic bronchial tubes, or what­ev­er. The image comes from a larg­er gate­fold, excerpt­ed below, which Moe­bius drew for the French dou­ble LP Are You Experienced/Axis: Bold as Love in 1975.

Jour­nal­ist Jean-Nöel Coghe was sup­pos­ed­ly very upset that he did not even receive men­tion for tak­ing the orig­i­nal pho­to, but in the nineties he and Moe­bius came togeth­er again for a project that would do them both cred­it, a book called Emo­tions élec­triques that Coghe wrote of his expe­ri­ences trav­el­ing through France as Hendrix’s guide dur­ing the Experience’s first tour of the coun­try in 1967.

Moe­bius pro­vid­ed the book’s illus­tra­tions, many of which you can see below, “each of them,” as the pub­lish­er’s descrip­tion has it, “imag­in­ing Hen­drix in a clas­sic Moe­bius land­scape of dreams.”


Obvi­ous­ly a huge Hen­drix fan, Moe­bius is in many ways as respon­si­ble for the psy­che­del­ic space race of the 1970s as the gui­tarist him­self. His work in the French com­ic mag­a­zine Métal hurlantHeavy Met­al in the Amer­i­can version—epitomized the sci-fi and fan­ta­sy ele­ments that came to dom­i­nate heavy rock. His work with Ale­jan­dro Jodor­owsky on the Chilean vision­ary filmmaker’s abort­ed Dune is the stuff of leg­end.

Moe­bius had illus­trat­ed album cov­ers since the ear­ly sev­en­ties, most­ly those of Euro­pean artists. But his cre­ations as a mag­a­zine and comics illus­tra­tor (and film sce­nar­ist) have the most endur­ing appeal for much the same rea­son as Hendrix’s music. They are both unpar­al­leled mas­ters and nat­ur­al sto­ry­tellers whose imag­ined worlds are so rich­ly detailed and con­sis­tent­ly sur­pris­ing they have birthed entire gen­res. The two may have crossed paths too late to actu­al­ly work togeth­er, but I like to think Moe­bius car­ried on the spir­it of Hen­drix in a visu­al form.

It may not be com­mon knowl­edge that Hen­drix hat­ed his album cov­ers, leav­ing detailed notes about them for his record com­pa­ny, who ignored them. His own choic­es, one must admit, includ­ing a Lin­da McCart­ney pho­to for the cov­er of Elec­tric Lady­land that makes the band look like they’re on the set of a pro­to-Sesame Street, do not exact­ly sell the records’ trea­sures. But Jimi might have loved Moe­bius’ inter­pre­ta­tions of his head­space, a visu­al con­tin­u­a­tion of a promi­nent strand of Hen­drix’s imag­i­na­tion. See all of Moe­bius’ Hen­drix illus­tra­tions here.


Relat­ed Con­tent:

Métal hurlant: The Huge­ly Influ­en­tial French Com­ic Mag­a­zine That Put Moe­bius on the Map & Changed Sci-Fi For­ev­er

Icon­ic Footage of Jimi Hen­drix Play­ing “Hey Joe” Ren­dered in the Style of Moe­bius, with the Help of Neur­al Net­work Tech­nol­o­gy

Jimi Hendrix’s Final Inter­view Ani­mat­ed (1970)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (4)
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  • Joe Pearson says:

    Thank you for shar­ing this! Both Hen­drix and Moe­bius were ground break­ing and influ­en­tial artists and meta­physi­cians. I nev­er met Jimi, but I did some a fair amount of time with the Moeb. Love this col­lab­o­ra­tion.

  • Sylvain says:

    The real sto­ry is a bit more strange and per­verse. The Hen­drix pho­tog­ra­ph­er, Jean-Noël Cogh­es, a French­man got the idea to sue Moe­bius in the 1990s for bas­ing his cov­er paint­ing on a pho­to­graph he’d tak­en. The now defunct French record com­pa­ny that had giv­en Moe­bius the pho­to to use as ref­er­ence nev­er wor­ried about copy­right issues. Moe­bius was ter­ri­fied at the idea of fac­ing a law­suit but his friend Ale­jan­dro Jodor­owsky sur­mised that the pho­tog­ra­ph­er was prob­a­bly suf­fer­ing from a lack of career recog­ni­tion and pro­posed to bro­ker a truce: Moe­bius would do a gallery show with him if he agreed to drop the suit. Thus is was that Moe­bius got roped into doing a series of Hen­drix draw­ings based on oth­er pho­tos tak­en by the “plain­tiff”.
    Moe­bius nev­er actu­al­ly owned any Hen­drix albums nor did he lis­ten to him and he CERTAINLY was­n’t a “fan” — he only lis­tened to Pop, Bebop Jazz, and afro cuban groove — but he had to do this to save his skin. He dread­ed the idea of doing this series of draw­ings and peo­ple famil­iar with his body of work will pick up on the gloom that emanates from them as well as the eco­nom­i­cal and expe­di­ent tech­nique he used to get through them. On the way to the gallery open­ing, he said “I hope they don’t write on my grave that I was the offi­cial Hen­drix artist”…

  • Phil Gosez says:

    Jimi eats his soup in Brus­sels. Not France.
    He sits with Jean Noël Coghe in a restau­rant near Grand Place.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Tony Max Nance says:

    Being a SERIOUS fan of Moe­bius, I’ve GOT to ask:
    Are these Hen­drix illus­tra­tions col­lect­ed ANYWHERE???? Where did YOU find them? Are they in ANY Moe­bius col­lec­tion???
    Thank you;

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