Before John Mellencamp embarked on a musical career, he seriously contemplated pursuing a career as a painter. While both outlets offered him creative expression, music knocked a bit louder and so started the path that made him the acclaimed singer-songwriter we have known for over four decades. Mellencamp never gave up his artistic aspirations however, continuing to paint as he wrote songs, recorded in the studio, and toured. His large-scale oil portraits and mixed-media assemblages document America’s heart and soul, revealing unsettling but beautiful truths with an anti-establishment frown and a rich sense of narrative.
John Mellencamp: American Paintings and Assembleages is the definitive survey—curated by the artist himself—of Mellencamp’s oeuvre as an expressionist painter, grabbing our attention through the canvas. For example, Mellencamp’s 2005 ode to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. titled Martin Luther King shines a spotlight on how society has fallen short on King’s renowned dream by incorporating the text “Martin Luther King Had a Dream and This Ain’t It” into the painting.
Full of self-portraits made over the years as well as portraits of other well-known subects—including Marlon Brando, Johnny Cash, and Meg Ryan—as well as a variety of everyday people, Mellencamp’s art is storytelling at its finest.
• 256 pages
• 170 Artworks
• 11 x 12"
About The Author: John Mellencamp is an award-winning singer-songwriter whose music career spans over 45 years. As a painter, collector, and longtime activist he has exhibited his work in galleries and museums across the United States. He is a member of the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame, a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, ASCAP Foundation’s Champion Award, The Woody Guthrie Award, the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and most recently, the Founders Award, the top honor assigned by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. His latest studio LP Strictly A One-Eyed Jack, out now on Republic Records, reached #1 on the album charts upon its January, 2022 release. Dr. Louis A. Zona is the executive director and chief curator of the Butler Institute of American Art, in Youngstown, Ohio. David L. Shirey is a former foreign correspondent, critic, and editor with Newsweek magazine, a critic and cultural writer for The New York Times, and former chair of the MFA Fine Arts program at New York City’s School of Visual Arts. Award-winning editor and publisher Bob Guccione, Jr. has created and managed some of America’s most iconic publishing brands, including SPIN and Gear.