Art News: - ‘Painting Is a Way for Me to Be by Myself’: John Mellencamp on Life, Rock, and His New Show at ACA Galleries

The musician and artist John Mellencamp stumbled into his first record deal while traveling to New York City from his home state of Indiana in search of an art school to attend. It was the mid-1970s, and the future star, who at various points in his long career has also been known as Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp, had just graduated from Vincennes University, a small two-year college in Indiana. “I figured while I was in New York, I might as well see if I can get anything going on [the music] end,” Mellencamp, who spent his teenage years playing in bar bands, recently told me over the phone. “And, as it turns out, at 20 years old, 21 years old, New York Art Students League wanted me to pay them money, and the record companies wanted to give me money.” Read John Chiaverina's complete article after the jump. 

Wall Street Journal - John Mellencamp Began His Art Career in His Family's Indiana Basement

I grew up in Seymour, Ind. The first place we lived was on Fifth Street. It was nothing special—just a small one-story home they built for vets returning from World War II. My two brothers and I lived in the basement. My father, Richard, fixed up a section for us with wood paneling and ugly linoleum on the concrete floor.

We had triple bunk beds. I was the middle kid, so I got the middle bunk. There was a TV, and the windows were at ceiling level.

My mother, Marilyn, was a homemaker. Later, she delivered mail to keep busy. She was very pretty, and had been a runner-up in the Miss Indiana pageant in '46. She loved to paint and did so each day, in between dealing with us. My dad created a studio space for her in the basement, too. When I was little, I'd paint on top of her work. That pissed her off.

Bob Morris - Author, Curator And Contributor To The New York Times - Mellencamp Interview

Bob Morris visited John at his art studio in Indiana to speak with him about his life as a painter, his development of his paintings and assemblages, and to view his latest works that will be on exhibit at the ACA Galleries in New York City April 26th - June 2nd. Read this fascinating interview after the jump.

"Like the characters in the Steinbeck and Faulkner novels he admired in his youth and the dustbowl inflected songs of Woody Guthrie, he paints about alienation and struggle more than joy or ease..."

WideWalls: Life, Death, Love Freedom - John Mellencamp Paintings in New York

Treading new ground, John Mellencamp paintings evoke hints of Neo- and German Expressionism, combining portraits of everyday Americans with a cast of universally recognized symbols such as hearts, guitars, targets, and crowns. The critic Doug McClemont noted: "Mellencamp paints handsomely grotesque portraits in oil that are as solemn and stirring as his hit songs are catchy and inspirational — depicting existential scenes and human beings ridden with the angst of the everyday.

His latest body of work will soon be on view at ACA Galleries in New York, an institution that has been supporting artists in diverse disciplines with singular points of view for over 80 years. Titled John Mellencamp: Life, Death, Love, Freedom, the exhibition will bring together two bodies of work: Mellencamp’s sculptural assemblages and series of portraits. This will be his second solo exhibition with the gallery. Click HERE to read the article online and view some of the paintings that are part of the exhibit.

John Mellencamp: Life, Death, Love And Freedom Exhibit On View April 26th - June 2nd

We are pleased to announce contemporary artist John Mellencamp’s new exhibition, Life, Death, Love, Freedom, opening at ACA Galleries on April 26, 2018 in New York. This is Mellencamp’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, and will showcase two bodies of work: Mellencamp’s sculptural assemblages and series of portraits. Read the complete press release after the jump.

“Mellencamp paints handsomely grotesque portraits in oil that are as solemn and stirring as his hit songs are catchy and inspirational -- depicting existential scenes and human beings ridden with the angst of the everyday” notes critic Doug McClemont..."

NY Observer: Nobody Knows John Mellencamp

“Nobody knows me,” John Mellencamp said recently in his raspy Hoosier drawl. He was slumped in a black leather chair and smoking a cigarette at ACA Galleries in Chelsea, where his first art show in the city opens this week. “I know me,” he clarified. “I’m old enough to know that I don’t need instruction or any of that kind of stuff. I know what I want to do and I do it.”