Why These 6 Famous Artists Were Inspired By Morocco

There is something about Morocco that has captured the fascination of artists throughout history.

Whether it is the musician inspired by the bright sounds of local musicians, the painters enthralled with the rich color and interesting scenes or the writer compelled by the charming atmosphere, Morocco has left its mark on quite a few famous artists.

Jimi Hendrix


If you visit Essaouira, you will probably hear all sorts of things about how much Jimi Hendrix loved Essaouira. You might hear how “Castles in the Sand” was inspired during his trip to Essaouira or how he tried to buy a small village while he was there. Contrary to what legend and locals want you to believe, Jimi Hendrix actually visited Morocco after “Castles in the Sand” came out. However, people who traveled with him do say that he absolutely loved Essaouira and his time in Morocco during his visit in 1969.

Bob Marley

There are some conflicting views on whether or not Bob Marley went to Morocco. You might hear that he visited with Jimi Hendrix–some even saying that they started a commune there! However, his band, The Wailers, did visit Morocco to perform in the Gnawa Music Festival in 2004.

Paul Bowles

This author of The Sheltering Sky moved to Tangier, Morocco in 1947. His interaction with North African culture is found in his works. He wrote in his essay “The Worlds of Tangier, “Beginning with the first day and continuing through all the years I have spent in Tangier, I have loved the white city that sits astride its hills, looking out across the Strait of Gibraltar to the mountains of Andalucia.”

He was one of a community of foreign writers who chose Tangier as their place of residence, including William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and Ira Cohen.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones visited Morocco in the late 1960’s as they waited for a verdict against them in the United Kingdom. Although this trip brought about a lot of personal drama and trouble for the band, they enjoyed hearing the local sounds and music of Tangier. In 1989, they even recorded part of their album Steel Wheels in Morocco!

Henri Matisse

This famous artist visited North Africa twice, once in 1912 and once in 1913. He stayed in Tangier and there are about 23 paintings and 47 drawings from his times in Morocco. Though kept inside by the rain for most of his trip, his view of Moroccan landscapes once the weather cleared up can be found to influence some of his later works. Eugene Delacroix is also said to have spent time in Morocco.


Yves Saint Laurent

This French fashion designer bought the famous Majorelle Gardens of Marrakech in 1980, after growing to love it after his first visit in 1966. The gardens were originally meant to be a space for Jacques Majorelle, a French painter. This is where the beautiful, bright “Majorelle blue” gets its name. Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge collected Islamic art that is going on display in the museum by these gardens. Both Saint Laurent and Berge loved the art objects of Morocco, finding them “fascinating.”

It could be you!

If you love one of these artists or are looking for inspiration, consider traveling to Morocco for your next vacation! Contact us for help planning a trip of a lifetime.