Were you starstruck by Warhol?
I didn't know who he was. It's when a artists die, his
career really takes off, Warhol, Dali, Picasso, Haring. Their career has gone
up since their deaths, I had a stroke & 6 weeks later the show was sold
out, that was my highest sold out show in my life.
What's your style?
I work in 14 different styles. I paint in many styles, I
create sculptures, paint on many subject matters, & surfaces from plates
like Picasso did, I'm also a film-making, I do take photography as well, I've
create styles they haven't even given names to the style yet. I recently
recreate a Rembrandt print and painted cartoon characters on the background.
That's what art is: constantly reinventing what everyone thinks is art, no
Why does celebrity fascinate you?
I learned from Warhol, the greatest captor of
celebrities. I also paint people who are icons in different ways, like Dali,
Van Gogh, Picasso. Also Elton John, Princess Diana and Bono because of their
charity work they do. If you help people, you become an icon in my eyes.
Which causes are important to you?
Sinatra said it costs nothing to be nice but it costs
everything not to be. I help 180 charities, I have a 85% success rate with the
kids I hire helping to straighten out their lifes, I started a charity call
Give Kids A Break. I bought a building in LA which was a gang hang-out. We made
the kids clean out the building, we then gave them $50 each as they left at the
end of the day. They all came back looking for jobs the next day, after 975 kids
later. We also encourage these kids to go back to school. Some of these kids
(my kids) are now police officers, doctors, artists, parents. I get to be
called Grandpa. I joking tell people I have 975 of my own kids & 600
grandkids and I never did a diaper.
Why create a 9/11 memorial?
I was raised in New York and I lost friends in the
attacks. It was a very emotional time, shocking and historical.
How do you feel about four more years of Bush?
I wasn't a Reagan fan but I later heard all these things
he did that I didn't know about. Your view changes with history. It's not all
positive or all negative, but you need hindsight to see that. It'll be fun if
Hillary Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger run in 2008.
You recently suffered a stroke. How did that affect your
I've been shot, stabbed, poisoned, thrown off my
motorcycle when I was hit by a truck, I was ran over by a car. I've been
changed with each close rush with death. When I had my stroke, I heard a voice
say: "You did good, but go back and do better." That is when I
started "Give Kids A Break."