Once upon a time, the handsome young artist met the dashing young daredevil ... and it all went downhill from there.

It seems the unlikeliest of pairings, but West Chester artist John Hannafin and resident "Jackass" star Bam Margera have joined forces to co-host - of all things - an art show at the Chester County Historical Society on June 1.

Featuring works from both artists and photography from various other friends, "The Ballad of Bam and John: A West Chester Renaissance, featuring the photography of Ryan Gee and Red Mohawk" is basically about the juxtaposition of these two utterly different creative forces.

"That's why it's gonna be so rad," Margera said, overflowing with enthusiasm for the idea. "Because we're just polar opposites."

While Margera is widely renowned for his antics in the "CKY," "Jackass" and "Viva la Bam" franchises, he recently started branching into the fine art world while in recovery from an injury.

Meanwhile, the usually quiet and reserved Hannafin is more known for his peaceful landscapes and his ongoing plein air experiment, "Art Across America," where he paints different locations under existing conditions and in a relatively brief period of time.

The pair met only recently, after Margera purchased a copy of Hannafin's "West Chester Dream," an impressionist-inspired painting of the Lincoln Coffee Exchange building on Market Street.

"I didn't know it was his, I just got it because I liked it," Margera said.

"Actually, I skateboarded a few times with him as a kid - not that either of us really remember," Hannafin said. "But my friends all say it happened."

Hannafin then attended Margera's inaugural art show on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia to thank him for picking up his print. A week later, they were painting together at Castle Bam in the hills of Pocopson Township.

And while Hannafin's inspiration is found in and around West Chester - the town he grew up in - Margera's inspiration runs more to the, shall we say, eclectic.

"Naked chicks. And my friend Novak [aka Brandon Novak, fellow skateboarder and occasional "Viva la Bam" guest star]," Margera said. "I love painting Novak because he always has the most random quotes ever. So I'll just paint his face and write the quote above it."

And although his style is admittedly outsider (short of a few tips from Hannafin and other artists, Margera has no formal education in fine arts), there is a tone and an urgency to pieces he says he just dashed off at a moment's inspiration.

He also doesn't limit himself to any one type of subject matter, letting his imagination run hand in hand with his muse.

"If I want to paint a serious girl [portrait], then I will. If I want to paint Novak getting out of jail with his middle finger up, I will," he said. "Some of them are funny and other ones are serious."

Novak's willingness to get naked - coupled with the notion espoused by Margera that he "tossed his morals out the window" - only adds to his appeal as a subject, Margera said.

"The other night, we had him over here standing in the doorway naked and holding a guitar," Margera said, laughing. "After 30 minutes he was like, 'this is the most boring thing I have ever done.'"

Margera has roughly 50 pieces ready for the show, although he's yet to select which ones will be on display - nearly all of them, however, are imbued with his raw, impressionistic style.

"He's been painting like a madman," Hannafin said, adding that Margera has only ever taken a few hints from him, preferring to adapt to his own inner view.

Hannafin said he particularly enjoys how Margera approaches each piece, sometimes with no concrete idea in mind but fueled by the desire to create. Starting with random applications of paint - and sometimes other substances - Margera said he often sculpts a subject out of what starts to emerge on the canvas.

"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't," he said.

Margera said that he was inspired to keep painting after his recuperation once people seemed to genuinely enjoy his work.

"I guess when one person says, 'wow this is really good,' and 'you're getting better,' and another person says, 'wow,' you just keep going and try to make it better," he said. "If you do anything enough, you're gonna figure out ways to get better."

"He's constantly reminding me how to bring fun back into painting," Hannafin said. "There will be 20 people over there painting on a Friday night at two in the morning - people that never paint. And they just have fun, and that's really inspiring to me."

The show is on June 1 at the Chester County Historical Society at 225 N. High Street in West Chester from 5 to 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.johnhannafin.com.

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