The creative spirit often finds multiple expressions and such is the case with John Mellencamp. Known primarily for his music, Mellencamp, is a legendary musician and Long-time activist. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and recipient of The Woody Guthrie Award.
He is also an accomplished painter who has seriously pursued painting for more than 35 years. He has had solo exhibitions at the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; the Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, the Museum of Art—Deland, Florida, the Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia and three exhibits including a two man exhibition with Robert Rauschenberg at the famed ACA Galleries in New York City.
Raised in Indiana and influenced by his mother who painted in the family home throughout his childhood, Mellencamp’s urge to paint started at ten years old when he began experimenting with oils. Later, he came to New York with the intention of studying painting if his music-career aspirations didn't pan out. He had his first formal training at the Art Students League, with portraitist David Leffel, where he discovered German art and the work of Twentieth - Century Modernists such as Walt Kuhn, Chaim Soutine and Max Beckmann.
As his musical career flourished, Mellencamp also continued painting and began to paint earnestly in the 1980's as a means of further artistic exploration. He evolved a style of portraiture influenced by the paintings of the German Expressionists, particularly Max Beckmann and Otto Dix.
Beginning with an early affinity for portraiture Mellencamp found his visual voice in Expressionism. The German Expressionism of the early Twentieth Century, with its anguish over human brutality and corruption, spoke to Mellencamp’s deep feelings about social justice. His kinship with the Expressionist artists, both by inheritance—he is the descendant of German immigrants—and attitude, served as the foundation for the development of Mellencamp’s own oeuvre. But though that foundation is German, the evolved result is decidedly American, with the brash and snappy visual rhythms of our streets, our lives, our politics, angers and passions.
Mellencamp’s imagery thus takes its inspiration from the same sources as his music: the struggles of the working man and woman, oppressive authority and social struggle. And like his music, the paintings are carefully composed through the structural requirements of harmony, rhythm and order.
Mellencamp continues to live in his native Indiana, where he maintains his home and studio outside Bloomington, where painting continues to be a mainstay of his creative spirit.
About John Mellencamp
Born and raised in Seymour, Indiana, John Mellencamp is an acclaimed singer-songwriter and musician, as well as an accomplished painter and long-time activist. Mellencamp started painting at an early age, influenced by his mother, also an artist. Mellencamp studied briefly at the Arts Student League in New York, where he discovered the work of Twentieth-Century Modernists. As his musical career flourished, Mellencamp began to paint earnestly in the 1980s with an early affinity for portraiture influenced by the works of Otto Dix and Max Beckmann. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Grammy winner, recipient of The Woody Guthrie Award, the John Steinbeck Award, ASCAP Foundation's Champion Award, the Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Founders Award, a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and co-founder of Farm Aid – a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on the land. www.johnmellencampart.com | @johnmellencamp
The exhibit will be in the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center from January 7th– March 28, 2021. Jasper Community Arts will host multiple events celebrating John Mellencamp while his artwork is on display. In addition the Next Act, Inc. will host a raffle with Mellencamp memorabilia.
Virtual Grand Opening/Mellencamp Raffle:
The first special event will begin with the Virtual Exhibit Opening on Thursday, January 7, 2021. Starting at 4:30pm EST the public will have access to the exhibit online at, www.jasperarts.org
In addition to the Virtual Exhibit Opening, the public will also have the opportunity to win memorabilia from Mellencamp through an online raffle.
Raffle tickets for a signed Lithograph, “Sometimes There’s God”, will be available online, beginning on Thursday, January 7th. Tickets for the signed print can be purchased until 5:00pm of February 24, [email protected] http://thenextact.org/jcaraffle/. This will give patrons multiple opportunities to purchase tickets.
Due to COVID-19 all City Buildings will be closed to the public and in-person meetings through January 18, 2021. Jasper Community Arts hopes to open the exhibit to in-person viewing on January 19th, 2021.
On January 25, 2021, a screening of the film ‘John Mellencamp: Plain Spoken will take place at the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center. The film will continue to run every week daily, Monday – Friday: 10am and 2pm, Saturday and Sunday: 12:30pm, with the last showing being on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. These events are free to the public, however space is limited.
2nd Film Event
‘John Mellencamp: It’s About You’ and Signed Artwork Raffle Winner Announced: On Thursday, February 25, 2021 from 6:00 – 8:00pm a second film, ‘John Mellencamp: It’s About You’ will be shown. This film will continue to run every week daily, Monday – Friday: 10am and 2pm, Saturday and Sunday: 12:30pm, with the last showing being on Wednesday, March 24th, 2021. These events are also free to the public, however space is limited.
This film is an intimate portrait of music legend John Mellencamp. ‘It’s About You’ is a revealing documentary both about the man and his music and about the culture that inspires him.
In addition to the second film showing, the raffle winner of the signed artwork “Sometimes There’s God” will be announced virtually by a representative of John Mellencamp’s. Raffle winners will be announced online.
Like and Follow Jasper Community Arts and Next Act, Inc. Facebook pages for more information,
www.facebook.com/jaspercommunityarts, https://www.facebook.com/TheNextAct. Stay tuned for additional events in conjunction with the John Mellencamp Exhibition.
The galleries at the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center, located at 100 Third Avenue, Suite A, Jasper, IN 47546, are open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 10:00 am to 2 pm and Sunday from noon to 3 pm. School groups, clubs and students are welcome. Admission is free.
For more information, please call 812-482-3070. Jasper Community Arts is a department of the City of Jasper. JCA is supported by the Friends of the Arts, Inc., the Indiana Arts Commission, The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, and the National Endowment for the Arts.