Meddlin' with Mendelson Joe

Published: April 28th 2010
in Culture » Music

Mendelson Joe
Painting of Brian Mulroney by Mendelson Joe

Mendelson Joe is a colourful, sharp tongued, quick witted individual who is known as an artist/painter in North Ontario living life on his terms. A rarity for most, he would prefer to live off the grid as the state of our government turns his stomach. So much so that in the past he has painted a number of well known government representatives replacing their facial features with that of a buttocks. Oddly enough, the subject is readily recognizable.


He is a well informed political activist that enjoys talking about current affairs and his views regarding life and the world at large. Shalom Life had the opportunity to engage in a brief dialogue with Mendelson Joe recently.


You became a painter by accident in 1975 by finding paint in someone’s garbage and all of a sudden, your work is being sought after. I love how life presents these opportunities.


Life is like that for all of us if we notice. You just have to pick your garbage!




Becoming an artist is a struggle – to make a living – how did you fare with it?


What’s a struggle? Now you’re getting into an area of esthetics. I’m an artist. My whole ideological base is driven by being artistic and idealistic. Most people in music are not idealists. They do it because they like it but they do it for the money. I’m an ‘artist’ in the real sense of the word. In my case – my ethic – I have a gift that I have to work hard at to develop so you never stop learning. I’m still teaching myself how to play guitar after playing for 55 years! It’s a process that doesn’t stop. For the rest, it’s a business.




So money is not important to you?


I don’t care about money as much because I don’t have children to support.




What is important to you?


Well, I feel a huge responsibility to your kid and kids in general to not leave a world of ‘pooh’ behind and that is what we are doing to our children.




You are a free spirit – one I would assume who thrives on living off the grid but you don’t, why is this?


I am a political activist. As a Canadian and a former pop star who has travelled the world, I understand what democracy has afforded us. I also recognize that the world is full of psychopaths who are in charge of the world (in most cases). In a society such as ours where we are actually afforded freedoms to speak and express ourselves without being killed for our views; this is important and you can’t offer your views and keeping the powers that be in check if you are ‘off the grid.’




You have an interesting viewpoint about women, can you share that with us?


I recognized very early on how freakishly weird the world was, especially for woman. I’m an advocate for women because I believe if they were in power, things would most certainly be different. Men are in high-powered roles whether it be a political or business role and they are fucking everything up. They probably were not mothered properly, thus is why women need to be in these positions. They have what it takes. My master piece in music that has never been released is titled “Women Are The Only Hope.” And, I really believe you are.


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