John Mellencamp is finest identified for his rugged heartland rock songs, however he will be discovered amongst paintbrushes and canvases in his spare time.
For Mellencamp, making music and creating paintings have all the time gone hand in hand. “There’s nothing nearer to heaven than portray,” Mellencamp advised The Guardian in 2018. “That is as shut as you get. You are completely launched to your creativeness and you may’t edit your creativeness. It took me a very long time to come back to that conclusion. I feel my songs and work mirror that.”
Mellencamp has painted for many of his life, nevertheless it wasn’t till the late ’80s that he thought of artwork greater than only a passion. In 1989, Mellencamp directed a video for Bob Dylan‘s “Political World.” One afternoon, Dylan, who additionally paints, visited Mellencamp in his artwork studio and requested him what he deliberate to do with all of the work. “I mentioned, ‘I don’t know,'” he recalled in a 2015 interview. “It hadn’t dawned on me.
“He mentioned, ‘Nicely, individuals wish to have this.’ I mentioned, ‘What individuals?’ And he mentioned, ‘I don’t know. Folks purchase my stuff.’ And I mentioned, ‘Yeah, so?’ Bob mentioned, ‘I do know a man who is aware of a man, who is aware of a man. Possibly you must discuss to that man.’ And so Bob hooked me up with this man, and right here we’re. It’s that straightforward.”
Since then, Mellencamp has offered his work and displayed it in many galleries, despite the fact that he nonetheless thinks of his artwork as one thing private. “I don’t actually paint for another motive apart from myself,” he mentioned. “I paint fairly tough work, I attempt to preserve them uncooked and primitive. They’re like my songs: grotesquely lovely.”
A collection of Mellencamp’s paintings, John Mellencamp: Work and Assemblages, is now on show on the New York Academy of Artwork (curated by Dexter Wimberly) till Nov. 15. Admission is free. You possibly can see photographs from the exhibition beneath.
John Mellencamp Work and Assemblages: Photograph Gallery
On view till Nov. 15, 2022.