Series Spotlight - Marsha Hammel - The Forever Young Collection


Marsha Hammel’s limited edition prints, Forever 27 and Forever Young have been made Editions 27 and 108, respectively, to commemorate the age at which all the musical legends in these prints died; 108 is both a multiple of 27 and is also double 54, to pay homage to Studio 54, the notoriously debaucherous celebrity nightclub, whose owner in the 80s peak died only last year. Hammel’s prints depict members of the ’27 Club’, an odd cultural phenomenon of celebrities, usually musicians, who died at the age of 27. This was first noticed after a cluster of 27 year old rock musicians died in quick succession in the late 60s and early 70s. Since then, many more celebrities and musicians who had already reached cult status before their untimely deaths died at the age of 27, some of whom had even expressed fear at ‘joining the club’. Many of these ‘members’ had careers plagued with drug abuse, struggles with addiction, and controversy in the tabloids; although statisticians have proven that celebrities are no more likely to die at age 27 than any other age, this ever-growing collection of rising stars with careers cut short shows how tumultuous the music industry and pressures of fame can be for young talents.

The musicians in these prints are imprinted in the annals of music history, featuring rock icons like the original lead of the Rolling Stones Brian Jones. Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, who are also included in these prints, even paid tribute to this legend of the music scene before, themselves joining the club. Hammel’s prints also include other rock legends such as Janis Joplin as well as founder of the Grateful Dead, Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan. Spot legends from the grungier and alternative sides of rock like The Gits singer Mia Zapata, alt rock’s frontman Kurt Cobain and Kami, the drummer of visual kei rock band Malice Mizer. Hammel’s tribute to the ‘27 Club’ isn’t just limited to rock, also including cuarteto musician famed for his alternative short and dyed hair, Rodrigo Bueno,  blues singer and British legend Amy Winehouse, rapper Freaky Tah and Neo-Expressionist artist and founder of the band Gray Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Marsha Hammel’s paintings are a joyous and eclectic celebration of icons and legends of the music scene whose and the tragic early end of young lives who were all so full of potential, so full of creativity, and so full of talent. 


"Forever 27"
From top left to bottom right; Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rodrigo Bueno, Kurt Cobain, Mia Zapata, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Brian Jones, Kami, Freaky Tah, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Janis Joplin & Jim Morrison.


"Forever Young"
From top left to bottom right; Amy Winehouse, Rodrigo Bueno, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Freaky Tah, Mia Zapata, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan & Kami.

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