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Iconic AF. Season 1, Episode 1: Voodoo Child

24″ X 30″ Acrylic Painting on Canvas of the late great James Marshall Hendrix

Prints available for purchase

Through the process of growing up as a music lover and eventually morphing into a practitioner of music and the fine arts, there have been luminaries who have served as a source of inspiration. Although the chief inspiration for my artistic exploits was and remains Michelangelo Buonarroti, I have also drawn a ton of inspiration from musicians, fighters, and thinkers past and present. These luminaries have inspired me and many others with their ingenuity, artistry, courage, passion, and fearless individuality. Jimi Hendrix is one such source of inspiration.

Full disclosure here… I’m about as big a fan of Jimi Hendrix as you’ll find anywhere so my objectivity on his life and works as a man and musician might be slightly warped. Jimi Hendrix is probably the biggest single reason why I play guitar. His style of guitar playing is readily recognizable in my guitar playing because I spent a ton of time copying and learning from the great man. I unfortunately never got the chance to see him in concert because he died a long time before I was born. He was really the first guitar player to develop the technique of playing within chords, and was also responsible for popularizing double stops… two techniques that are now commonplace in every serious guitar player’s arsenal. He’s been an inspiration to myself and many others, making this particular piece an absolute joy to create. This is the first piece of work in season 1 of the “Iconic AF” series. It sold to a collector here in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 2018 Millbrae Art and Wine festival. You can see snapshots of works in progress from this series on the instagram page

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Chuba Oyolu Ph.D.

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Life lessons from Jimi Hendrix

James Marshall Hendrix was an intensely complicated individual by all accounts. This unique man was comprised in equal parts of musical virtuoso, pacifist, voodoo high priest, lover, and drug addict. He lived life fast and hard… spending most of his adult days in an altered state of consciousness due to some sort of extrinsic stimulant. For better or worse, the psychedelic neptunian sounds he came to be known for creating on his electric guitar permanently altered the course of the blues and rock music genres. Love him or hate him, Jimi Hendrix is one of a few who will be remembered for their absolute mastery of a chosen craft. The kind of mastery that ends up transcending the craft itself. Continue reading Life lessons from Jimi Hendrix

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How to get really good at (fill in the blank)

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

We all intuitively know when we have experienced a display of exceptional skill because it stirs up emotions in us that words cannot quite capture. It is the feeling that causes you to shake your head in disbelief at Stephen Curry’s accuracy from 3-point range on a basketball court. It’s the emotions you feel when a soulful guitar solo leaves you in tears. It is the excitement that forces you to dance when you hear Alicia Keys belt out the chorus to “Empire State of Mind” from her famed vocal chords. Words cannot describe these feelings because exceptional skill predates language in our human culture. Before the invention of language or the existence of insanely skilled musicians, writers, and athletes, our ancestors were insanely skilled hunters and navigators who could deftly weave their way through the rich African jungle and strategically plan the efficient killing of prey. Master’s of their respective domains seem to possess skill that is otherworldly and beyond the average person’s grasp. This apparent unattainability of mastery is further heightened by the fact that there are so few masters in history who really stand out. These masters form a shining line through the annals of time: Galileo, Leo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sir Isaac Newton, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Michael Faraday, Benjamin Franklin, Martha Graham, Marie Curie, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jeffrey Jordan, Steven Paul Jobs, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and John Mayer amongst others. The otherworldly skill these masters possess seduces us into repeatedly asking certain questions. How does exceptional skill come about? Are their brains just different from that of the average person? Are these people just born geniuses? Can anyone become a genius? Do I have what it takes to be like that or should I just accept my lot in life and stop fooling myself? Well my friends, I invite you to follow me on this literary journey as I attempt to explain where exceptional skill comes from. Continue reading How to get really good at (fill in the blank)