67 Great John Waters Quotes For His 67th Birthday


On art

“Everybody knows you need young blood in your house. The way to build a great [art] collection is not to have a lot of money and buy established artists; it’s to go to all the galleries once a month and find a brand-new artist you like in a gallery whose stable seems to be up your alley. Go back to the artist’s second show and buy something for around $5,000. It really means a lot to the artist at this stage of the game, and even though you should never buy art just so you can later sell it for a profit, it does perk up looking through the auction results when you see your gamble go sky-high once in a while.” (Role Models, 2010)

“I’ve always said that in the film world you have to pretend eight million people are gonna love it and in the art world, if eight million people love it, it’s really BAD. So it’s the reverse aesthetic, in a way.” (Baltimore Brew, 2010)

“I think almost everything I do is intellectual, but I would never say that, because that’s a compliment. That’s up to others to say about me. The same way, I would never say I do art. I think art is up to history. It’s up to other people to utter that word. So I try to be humble, and I never say anything bad about something unless it’s something that everyone in America loves and has made a million dollars.” (Interview, 2008)

On inspiration

“’How could you think of such awful things?’ liberal critics always ask. ‘How else could I possibly amuse myself?’ I always wonder.” (Shock Value, 1981)

On obsession

“You can use all kinds of obsession. You can use obsession for humor, you can use it for style, you can use it for fashion. Obsession is great if it brings you pleasure and helps you make your living doing something you love. It’s only bad if you make the same mistake over and over with some obsession that brings you unhappiness.” (Rookie, 2012)

On being Jewish

“I have to tell you my only Jewish thing is that whenever I write an email on my Blackberry I and sign it, “Best ‘JW,’” it corrects to “JEW” in all capital letters, which is really embarrassing. Sometimes, I’m writing an agent and saying “thank you so much for your offer, and ‘Best JEW.’” (The Nervous Breakdown, 2011)

On bad taste

“To me, bad taste is what entertainment is all about. If someone vomits while watching one of my films, it’s like getting a standing ovation. But one must remember that there is such a thing as good bad taste and bad bad taste.” (Shock Value, 1981)

“Good bad taste is celebrating something without thinking you’re better than it… Bad bad taste is condescending, making fun of others.” (Rookie, 2012)