Matthew Bede Murphy: Michael, good to speak with you today, how long have we known each other?
Michael Pellew: A long time, 15 years – I met you in 2003, you had more hair.
MM: I did have more hair then! In 2005 I invited you to be a member of the LAND gallery. Are you glad you said yes?
MP: Yes indeed because if I ever say I’m leaving you will cry and be sad. We are a family, we must stay a family and never break up.
MM: Please don’t ever leave Michael! What’s your favorite thing to do at LAND?
MP: Big drawings in the morning and books at 12 noon, meet my fans and bang my head. I also like trips to the library to watch MTV classic on the computers…I want my MTV. For my birthday I’m creating a mosh pit and I want a live band at LAND.
MM: Wow, that’s a plan, we will definitely have a party. You’re the biggest metalhead I know but you also love Taylor Swift. I find that very interesting as you treat them equally in your work.
MP: I like to keep it sinister but also I like Taylor, I would like to meet her and ask her about the teardrops on her guitar. I would ask Slayer for dating advice.
MM: Do you love Slayer and Taylor swift equally?
MP: Yes, completely, strictly serious- like they are dating.
MM: You are very disciplined Michael, do you work at home as well?
MP: Yes, I make greeting cards, fashion books and sometimes create cardboard cities made of cereal boxes. I use composition notebooks for ideas and my new Pin Poof book is all about blondes and hairstyles and model looks.
MM: In 2003 I was introduced to your Punk Funk Freaks from the Lower Eastside, a series that would lead to Celebrity Sightings cards. When did you start mixing celebrities up?
MP: Michael Jackson is my best friend and I remember Brook Shields dated in 83 and went to the Grammys in 1993…I like to remember that time and draw that in a card.
MM: Kinda like paying tribute to them?
MP: Yeah, Michael Jackson is my brother and he and Brook Shields hung out in 1981 and I like to have them on a date having wine and talking.
MM: You met Robin Williams when he visited LAND in the fall of 2012. That was an amazing moment, what a sweet man. What did you ask him?
MM: I asked him what was his favorite Goth band was and took a photo with him.
MM: What did he say when you asked him about who his fav goth artists was?
MP: He said Bauhaus.
MM: But you corrected him ….
MP: Yes, Siouxsie and the Banshees is better, so I told him so. Cities in Dust …. she is a goth grandma.
MM: Wow, I know you’re a huge fan of Siouxsie, one of my faves as well. You call yourself many things: The Grandfather of Art, Bump It Teacher; do you have any other nicknames you call yourself?
MP: I’m the Godfather of Art, Matt, get it right and Daddy’s Little Boy, Music Therapist and Master DJ, but no NAPSTER please, I don’t want to be arrested.
MM: No please, no Napster, haha. What events would you DJ?
MP: I want to DJ weddings, bar mitzvahs and headbanging birthdays.
MM: Not only are you a pop culture fan and expert you are a NYC transportation fan, if you could be any subway or a bus what would that be?
MP: A train, Rio No.2977, no graffiti please as far as buses I would be 1977 flexible 531D2-6-1 9,000. It operates on 5103 and goes to Staten Island.
MM: This is you first solo show at a major gallery in the US; what would you like the name of this show be?
MP: #1 Under Control World Tour
MP: That’s a great title! Can I ask you what is inspiring you at the moment?
MP: My new thing is the PIN –OUT hairstyle and teaching the youth to follow their dreams and do better hairstyles.
MM: That’s inspiring stuff Michael, better hair for the future of the USA. If you could be in any band, what would it be and what instrument would you play?
MP: Playing lead guitar in Metallica of course!
MM: What advice would you give an artists starting in the biz?
MP: Don’t be a sell out.