Sunday, July 3, 2011

Celebration of the Lizard King: Jim Morrison

It's been said that poetry is a young man's sport.  It was for me and it was for Jim Morrison. His myth and legacy superseded his wild ride of a life when he died in a bathtub in Paris 40 years ago today.  Morrison became forever young at the age of 27 after he fled the United States and rock stardom to revisit his writing.
Inks on Bristol / 2011
When I was 15, Jim Morrison pried open my third eye.  His words served as scalpel and their journey the funneling void- which twisted open a vortex straight through me to the channel of the great creative spirit.  I carried around The American Night as my own vade mecum (one of two posthumous collections of his writing) months before I ever heard an album of The Doors in length.  Much of Jim's early writing emerged in epic material for the band, recording masterpieces at 10 and 12 minutes with the singer providing a mixture of lyric and spoken word.  The Universe gave Morrison his ultimate instruments of translation with The Doors- I don't think any other three musicians alive could have kept up with him.  
 
Morrison devoured much of the same writing I was interested in at the time of my discovery of his poetry.  The Doors' name came from my own favorite author, Aldous Huxley's work- The Doors of Perception.  The book was an essay inspired when Huxley (an already world-renowned author) ingested a powerful hallucinogen, mescaline to see what it was all about.  [Click HERE for my portrait of the author.] In turn, Huxley had taken his title from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell...

"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thru' narrow chinks of his cavern."

This quotation is indeed a fine source of verbal comparison for a hallucinogenic experience, especially dealing with with substances such as mescaline, peyote, or psilocybin mushrooms.  These sacred substances lift the veil on reality.  So much so, that one can't feel the effects of alcohol or even marijuana while on them.  Such drugs provide a mystical experience, which Jim indulged in excessively.  A hit of blotter LSD is incorporated into my memorial portrait of him you see today.

I went on to find other wonderful coincidences in Jim's writing and his inspiration from other works such as The Yage Letters from William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.  This is another drug-inspired tale woven through a series of letters between the two authors.  The first portion of the collection begins with Burroughs during his visit to the Amazon Rainforest in 1953 in search of yage, one of the most powerful hallucinogens known to man.  The latter series of correspondence occurred when Ginsberg went on the same conquest in 1960. Burroughs wrote back to Ginsberg after his mystical journey...

"WHAT SCARED YOU ALL INTO TIME? WHAT SCARED YOU ALL INTO YOUR BODIES?"

Not a decade later, Morrison wrote...

"Who scared you? Why were you born, my babe?
In two-time's arms with all of your charms, my love.
Why were you born? just to play with me?
To freak out or to be beautiful, my dear?
Load your head, blow it up, feeling good, baby"

-The Doors, Who Scared You  

All artists, writers and musicians draw from the collective creative spirit- the universal energy which seizes you and picks you and gives you the compulsion to create... but it takes guidance.  Someone has to lift the curtain and someone has to urge you along.  Jim had Huxley and Burroughs and then his Doors.

One of the main elements of my illustration of The Lizard King is the Shaman funneling out of The Third Eye at the top of the page. One of the duties of the Shaman in Native cultures is to guide individuals through sacred ceremonies involving the ingestion of drugs which have inspired countless creators over the past hundred years. Jim looked at his role as an entertainer and musician in the same respect- he would guide his audience through a journey and if you listened just right, you may never think the same way again.  As a child, Morrison witnessed a highway accident and as his father drove past, the young boy saw an Indian dying on the side of the road. Jim was convinced he was possessed with the spirit of this man and that he was a Shaman...

"Indians scattered on
Dawn's highway bleeding,
Ghosts crowd the young child's
Fragile egg-shell mind."

 -The Doors, The Ghost Song


Click HERE for a stream of my portraits from Rock Star Martyr!

15 comments:

  1. AnonymousJuly 03, 2011

    Thank you Brandt. "An American Prayer" was very influential for me over the years and still remains one of my top albums of all time. There will never be another like Jim.

    -David Evans

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  2. Thanks for commenting David- I'm glad he's inspired so many other people besides myself. I was only too happy to finally make a fitting homage for him.

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  3. AnonymousJuly 03, 2011

    I really like your art. Fantastic work on Morrison. Looking at your art takes me back to the days of social consciousness and free thinking. Thank you for the time travel..I needed it.

    Mike

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  4. I'm delighted that I could take you on such a trip Mike- I only hope you never lost your social consciousness and free thinking!

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  5. Brandt,
    Great writing. Please check out doorsgoldmine.com. You can download my Top 10 Commandments of Jim Morrison by opting in.
    David

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  6. Jim was structured for fame with that elusive characteristic that lures without any obvious reason. His appeal was much more natural or, more accurately, animal. Hendrix was a master of improvisational panache, Morrison’s voice has been referred to as a “beautiful pond for anything to drown in.” While Hendrix was ‘vodoo child’ Jim was ‘Satan’s Seraph’ who epitomized sexual nirvana with his hint of spirituality, moody burst of creativity and difficult to contain rebellious streak. Creator of memorable lines, Hendrix was pathologically inarticulate while Jim was able to give intellectual crust to his views with great communicability.
    http://modernartists.blogspot.com/2011/09/weird-scenes-inside-goldmine-death-lust.html

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  7. Jimbo was indeed a master of many modes of verbal communication through his poetry, lyrics, and even his ability to incite a riot. Great comment- thanks!

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  8. Hi,
    Interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you.

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  9. Hey there, Brandt

    Just wanted to stop by and say I really dig your page, art, and dedication to Jim Morrison. Like you, Jim and the Doors have had an immense impact on my life, "enough to base a movie on."

    I have created a concept script that pays tribute the music, imagery, and folklore of the Doors (Love Death Travel.) Even Ray Manzarek digs the script! Feel free to check out my solo, experimental doc (Doors to Symbolicy) http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8F722F4FF6ED9E44 The goal is to create a short-story in hopes of turning it into something bigger.

    Right on, Bradt. Very nice dedication.

    Peace,

    Brandon Green (Color, Gallop,Hotel, Vine, Vest, Death) Lyrics that represent the color Green.
    PS "Hey SEATTLE, Nice to See YA!"

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  10. By the way the most powerful hallucinogen you're talking about is DMT found in Ayahuasca. What is so interesting is that your body naturally produces this and it's found everywhere yet it's illegal. Guess they gotta keep us in line. I liked your post btw....

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    1. Tripping Anonymous, thanks for the comment. DMT is certainly applauded by many artist and drug connoisseur alike. It's one substance I have yet to experience. Glad you liked the bit about The Lizard King!

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  11. Hi Brandt. I came across your blog from a comment you made on another page. I am so happy to have found your site, and this particular post. Your painting of Jim Morrison is amazing!!! (Will check out Ray Manzarek next). I hope you don't mind, but I reposted your blog on http://www.jimmorrisonproject.com/entry/2013/12/celebration-of-the-lizard-king-jim-morrison

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  12. Love "The Lizard King"

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