Mellencamp artwork on view through Jan. 4 at Butler

Mellencamp 2_WEB_F

Rocker John Mellencamp brings his talents to a different platform. Shee Wai Wong tells us more about his first major art exhibition at the Butler Institute of Art.

Rock singer John Mellencamp studied art in college, but made a detour with a successful singing career in the 1980s. He’s now working on his first love – painting. Jessica Mowchan/TheNewsOutlet.org

Rock singer John Mellencamp studied art in college, but made a detour with a successful singing career in the 1980s. He’s now working on his first love – painting. Jessica Mowchan/TheNewsOutlet.org

Many of us know John Mellencamp as a rock-and-roll singer, you’re probably familiar with his hits from the ’80s, such as “Jack and Diane” and “Hurts So Good”. You may not be familiar with another side of Mellencamp’s talent – his artwork.

LOU ZONA: It’s an honor that he’s selected us – let us present his work. We were blessed that Butler has a national reputation.

That’s Lou Zona, director of the Butler Institute of Art. Zona sees the natural lighting, the blond wood floor and the high ceiling of the Trumbull branch as the perfect setting for Mellencamp’s contemporary art in the style of German expressionism.

ZONA: His work has a solid message to it always. That’s why you see the dripping of paint. that’s why you see heavy texture.

Mellencamp is using his art to express a political viewpoint. He calls himself a “liberal” or “leftie” and in his oil painting titled, “Gun Control,” museum visitors will see a man in pain, suffering from a bullet wound. Mellencamp also uses the phrases – “This is gun control” and “Second amendment in action” – on the canvas.

The blond wood floors and high ceiling of the Butler Institute of Art’s Trumbull County branch make the perfect setting for John Mellencamp’s vibrant, German expressionism style of painting. The exhibit is on view through Jan. 4. Jessica Mowchan/TheNewsOutlet.org

The blond wood floors and high ceiling of the Butler Institute of Art’s Trumbull County branch make the perfect setting for John Mellencamp’s vibrant, German expressionism style of painting. The exhibit is on view through Jan. 4. Jessica Mowchan/TheNewsOutlet.org

MELLENCAMP: The paintings – I am still learning, I am still catching up for 40 years for being a singer. I think probably that’s why I write on my paintings.

The multi-talented artist continues to work on his music.

MELLENCAMP: I have a Broadway show that Steven King and I are working on.

You can see Mellencamp’s artwork at Butler Institute of Art, Trumbull Branch, located in Howland until Jan. 4.

For TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Shee Wai Wong.