He’s nuts, he has murdered at least 33 people, and he’ll paint your next album cover. He’s John Wayne Gacy, serial killer, and his paintings are suddenly terribly trendy.
Exhibit A: Waving from the sleeve of ”Biter”/”Oil,” the limited-edition indie single issued late last year by Kansas City punksters Season To Risk, is Gacy himself, dressed as Pogo the clown, the fun-loving kiddie entertainer he would often portray for local community events. The self-portrait, painted for $100 in Gacy’s death-row cell at Illinois’ Menard Correctional Center, was originally planned as cover art for a four-song EP. But then intended distributor Sony got nervous and pulled out. ”They were worried his [Gacy’s] victims’ families might see it in Kmart and sue,” says Brent Ashley, publicist for Red Decibel, Season To Risk’s label.
Insiders say that it was a staffer at Sony’s Columbia Records — an A&R exec, in fact — who first suggested using Gacy, but Sony won’t comment further. Season To Risk aren’t talking either, although their most recent press kit includes this quote from singer Steve Tulipana: ”I thought [Gacy’s artwork] was a cool idea that fits with my feeling that things aren’t really what they seem to be.”
Exhibit B: poster and soundtrack album cover art for Hated, a new film documenting the antisocial antics of GG Allin, an ex-con rocker who throws feces from the stage on slow nights. According to filmmaker Todd Phillips, Gacy’s portrait of Allin is already finished — at a cost of only $50 for Gacy’s art supplies.
Though Gacy is officially allowed to paint and give his work away, his extracurricular activities aren’t thrilling prison officials. Fumed Nic Howell, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections: ”I’m glad you told me about this, because he doesn’t have permission to operate a business out of the facility. He stands the very definite possibility of not being permitted to paint.”
Can you say increased market value?