Before he went on to sell 27.5 million albums, Mellencamp was determined to make it as a painter. The legendary rocker walks Billboard through his first NY exhibition.

Is that lipstick?"

Breezing through a new ­exhibition of his moody oil paintings at ACA Galleries in New York, John Mellencamp stops short after ­spotting a crimson daub near the face of Bug, an impressionistic, four-foot portrait of a woman who works for him.

"Somebody kissed this f---ing painting," he says, leaning in close to the canvas, more amused than annoyed. "See this? I didn't paint that. I just noticed it."

With a quick laugh, the rocker turns and walks away. Doesn't he want someone from the gallery to remove the rogue lip print?

Subscribe to billboard biz to continue reading this article and thousands more.

Billboard.biz subscribers get:
  • 24/7 coverage of every genre and sector of the business with over 150 exclusive charts
  • Bulletin: Breaking stories, chart info and analysis sent directly to your inbox every weekday
  • Billboard Magazine iPad Edition: An enhanced version of the magazine with video, photo galleries and playable charts
  • Archives: A rich history of Billboard.biz articles and exclusive charts

Join now or Log In