Rockstars are a chosen people elevated to God-like status for their virtuosic talent, unchecked egos, and polyamorous, indulgent lifestyles. While sex, drugs, and shredding are thought to be their métiers, a lesser-known but popular pastime of the rockstar is the making of visual art. Rockstar Art, it turns out, is as old as rockstardom itself — and it takes many forms. Everyone from Grunge's sacrificial lamb Kurt Cobain to the late mother superior of disco Donna Summer have taken up the paintbrush, with varying degrees of success.
Yet, not all rockstar artists are created alike. By most standards, John Lennon's NSFW doodles of himself and Yoko mid-coitus outshine shock-rocker Marilyn Manson's asininely offensive nude watercolor of a hermaphroditic Hitler, for instance. Who, we asked, is the greatest recording artist-cum-visual artist? To help answer this important debate, our intrepid ARTINFO writers selected a handful of the most notable contenders — deliberately chosen to cover as wide a range in terms of genre and generation as possible, to make things interesting — and then assigned the fruits of their aesthetic labor a letter grade, from A to F (using the rigorous scientific criteria for which we are are known, of course).
To see our ranking of 17 musicians-turned-artists, with our commentary, click on the slide show.
One more thing: The way these things go, we fully expect our rankings to be controversial — so we'll also let fans weigh in below on which music legend is most worthy of your devotion.