‘Bam’ Margera teams up with West Chester artist John Hannafin for exhibit
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
If the Chester County Historical Society makes some history of its own on Friday when its doors open to an unconventional art exhibit, no one is likely to complain.
From 5 to 9 p.m., the society will welcome the West Chester debut of Brandon “Bam” Margera’s artwork. The homegrown star of Jackass fame is teaming up with West Chester artist John Hannafin, a Historical Society regular, for Gallery Walk, a popular, borough event held on the first Fridays of June and October.
Robert Lukens, the Historical Society president, said Hannafin has been renting exhibit space from CCHS for four or five years. This time, Hannafin added Margera and a couple of Margera’s friends — photographers Red Mohawk and Ryan Gee – to the space, creating what is expected to be an eclectic mix.
“It’s basically their event; they’re just holding it here,” Lukens said. He said many people have reported that an art show encouraged them to visit the Chester County Historical Society and then prompted them to return once they saw the various displays. “People who’ve walked by the building many times finally get to see how much is going on here,” he said. “The exposure is a great thing.”
Hannafin said he met Margera in April when he attended an art opening the MTV star had at the James Oliver Gallery in Philadelphia. Hannafin said he had always been a fan – “local guy becomes a success” — but was especially motivated to support the event because Margera had purchased one of his paintings.
Mutual friends insisted the two had crossed paths a couple of times when they were younger, but Hannafin said he doesn’t recall specifics. He attended West Chester Henderson, and Margera went to West Chester East before skateboarding his way to celebrity status in Hollywood.
Within days of their meeting, Hannafin said he found himself brushing up on his craft with Margera at his Pocopson Township home – the inspiration for Hannafin’s “Castle Bam” painting. He said the experience was so much fun that after learning that Margera wanted to showcase his work in West Chester, including the celebrated Jackass in the Gallery Walk show was a no-brainer. “He’s a really nice guy, very down to earth, and very professional,” unlike his bad-boy image, Hannafin said.
Hannafin said Margera has always dabbled in painting, producing a couple of works a year, but recently revved into a higher gear after getting sidelined from skateboarding by an injury. He said Margera will have to whittle about 50 works down to the 15 or so that can be displayed.
“They’re definitely edgy,” Hannafin said of Margera’s paintings. “Expressionistic is the closest description … I think he wants to keep at it. He wants to keep getting better.”
So great is Margera’s commitment that last weekend after his Hummer broke down on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Margera reported that he was sitting on the side of the road creating a painting of his vehicle, Hannafin said. “You just never know what he’s going to do,” he added.
Among Margera’s claims to fame: He co-created and co-starred in MTV’s “Jackass” and “Jackass, The Movie”, a venue for outlandish and sometimes lewd pranks that has grossed over $100 million. He also created, produced, directed and starred in five seasons of the MTV show “Viva La Bam.”
Gallery Walk, which began in downtown West Chester in June 1990, will feature more than a dozen exhibits. It has grown in popularity and typically attracts 2,500 visitors, who patronize the borough’s diverse selection of galleries, shops and restaurants, according to organizers.