Different strokes for MTV star

Attendees at Bam Margera's art show look at his paintings in a barn on his property near Chadds Ford on Tuesday. His band, FFU, played.
Attendees at Bam Margera's art show look at his paintings in a barn on his property near Chadds Ford on Tuesday. His band, FFU, played. (ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer)

Bam Margera turns a kitchen into wild art.

Posted: April 04, 2013

Bam Margera's kitchen, in his words, "just got Jackson Pollock-ed."

Neon paint drips from nearly every surface - refrigerator, cabinets, counters. The Jackass star was newly back from an international tour with his band, FFU - whose full name is unprintable, he says with a grin - and simply let loose.

"I usually paint when I'm on tour, but I was on this really nice tour bus with a really nice driver," he said. "When I paint, the whole place just gets Jackson Pollock-ed."

Margera, 33, has been painting for only about three years, but his mother says he's always had an artistic streak. On Tuesday, back in his hometown of West Chester between tours, he tweeted to his one million followers that he was planning on hosting an art show at his sprawling property near Chadds Ford - after all, he said, why not?

It's a driving philosophy for Margera, a professional skateboarder who rose to fame performing deliberately idiotic stunts on MTV's Jackass before scoring his own show, Viva La Bam. He invites bands to rehearse in the Hobbit Hole, a small cottage on his property, and started his own band after friends noticed he had "the growliest voice," he said.

On Tuesday, he lined up several dozen canvasses in his skate barn, sharing space with local artist John Hannafin. Hannafin's lush, detailed paintings of local landmarks are a far cry from Margera's wild, anarchistic paintings of everything from naked women to buses driving off cliffs, but both men say they're inspired by each other.

"He does it purely for fun - he reminds me how to bring fun back into it," Hannafin said.

He and Margera have hosted three shows together, including Tuesday's. They met after Margera bought a painting of Hannafin's he saw hanging in a West Chester bar.

"I thought, maybe I could get some technique," Margera said, laughing. "I'll use anything and everything [to paint]. Whatever's around me."

Everyone and anyone was invited to Tuesday's show, and Margera was expecting attendees from as far away as Tennessee and Michigan. Clad in a paint-spattered hoodie and sunglasses, he set out a keg, several boxes of wine, and cheese and crackers in the barn as attendees milled about. Some were fans just thrilled to get a glimpse of their idol's digs.

"I thought it was awesome - coming to Bam's house," said Clay Carty, 19, of Oxford. He bought a painting for $240. "I grew up watching Viva La Bam - I learned a lot of stuff from that show."

He snapped a picture with Margera before leaving.

Others were there for Hannafin - like Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell, who arrived in a suit and tie.

"I think I'm the most conservatively dressed person here, but that's OK," he said, laughing. "These are some interesting pieces of art."

Margera's mother, April, pinned price tags to paintings and doled out hugs as she moved around the room.

"I'm a little upset about the kitchen" - it had just been remodeled - "but that's him," she said, smiling. "He'd always been artistic - when he was upset when he was little, he would draw. His art is basically his journey."

The show was set to last until 9 p.m.; at dusk, Margera and FFU would play a set in the skate barn, next to a Hannafin painting of sunflowers and a stylized, neon-blue portrait of a woman that Margera calls "Paris Kills." It's his favorite, the first piece he produced that he genuinely liked.

Outside the barn, watching the sun set, he said he was pleased with the event - he'd sold four paintings, and FFU was about to tune up.

"When the sun goes down, it's gonna be gnar," he said, grinning. Then it was back to the show.

Contact Aubrey Whelan

at 610-313-8112, at awhelan@philly.com or on Twitter at @aubreyjwhelan.

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