IK: German Expressionism and Jean-Michel Basquiat have both been influences for your art. What else inspires you to paint?
JM: Time. I have time to do this now. Rather than sit around and waste my time, I like having something to show—either a song, or a painting, or a love affair. So that’ll send me into the studio. I have a house on an island which is where I am now, and I think, “I’m going to go down there and paint.” I’ve been down here 10 days and I haven’t even walked into the art studio.
Look, you’re talking to the luckiest guy in the world, just so you know. I am the luckiest guy that you’ll probably ever talk to. I’ve been able to live my life outside of the law, outside of being part of anything in the music business. Never been part of anything, never wanted to be part of anything. I view my art the same way. I do what I want to do when I want to do it, and that is freedom. I have been able to live my life since I was a pre-adult, unfettered with rules. And I don’t have any fuckin’ rules that I feel like I have to live by. I am just lucky. I just had my 64th birthday and I have lived life the way that I wanted to live it, rightfully or wrongfully, since...you know, ever. It’s a blessing and it’s kind of a curse.
IK: In what way is it a curse?
JM: Well, Stephen King is a friend of mine and he said it really well. He said, “John, we dig our own little trench and then we decorate it.”
IK: And is the art part of decorating that trench?
JM: Sure. That’s why it’s “The Isolation of Mister.”