Pedro Bell, the psychedelic painter behind Funkadelic's visual vibe, RIP

Pedro Bell, the visionary painter whose astonishing psychedelic art (and liner notes) appeared on numerous Funkadelic albums and shaped the P-Funk mythos, died on Tuesday at 69. Free your mind, and your ass will follow. From the New York Times:

“The artwork of Pedro Bell was an essential component of the alternately utopian and dystopian world of P-Funk, which placed African-American reality in the context of a science fiction future that was both scary and hopeful,” (art curator Pan) Wendt said by email. “Pedro was a brilliant autodidact who was a key source of George Clinton’s ideology through his readings of science fiction, media theory and environmentalist tracts, as well as his knowledge of Sun Ra’s Afrofuturism..."

Mr. Clinton was especially fond of what Mr. Bell came up with for Funkadelic’s “Standing on the Verge of Getting It On” (1974): an alien landscape that was both scary and whimsical.

“It was a combination of Ralph Bakshi and Samuel R. Delany and Superfly and Fat Albert and Philip K. Dick and Krazy Kat and Flash Gordon,” he wrote in his book, “all mixed together in Pedro’s brain with some kind of blender that hadn’t even been invented yet.”

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