I was sitting in my office one day, and I realized, I had my stores for 50 years. I have a golden anniversary. I opened up my shop in ’66 when I was 24 years old.

I had been receiving a lot of offers to buy my property [the two storefronts on New York’s Bowery], and I kept turning them down, until I didn’t. 

I did it. I was happy. I did a good job. It spawned my movie career, but 50 years is enough. And once I made that decision, that was it. I sold it. And I walked away.

If I never work another day in my life, I don’t have to, but I wanted new things in my life. It was time for the next chapter. So I did it. 

I don’t know when the idea dawned on me, but I thought, “I’m going to do an art gallery, and bring all the kids that paint on the clothes that I have in the store.” Back in the day, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat — they were all in the store, painting. I caught the vibe early. Now, art is the big thing, but I was there first. I made my web site an art fashion gallery online.

I have what I call a studio — a little tiny studio. And this is fun for me. I don’t have kids, so I came to the conclusion that I’m going to spend my money on myself and my fun. And the day that I die, if I have no more money left, that’s fine. I don’t care. I don’t have to leave people money. And if I can enjoy myself, ’til the day I stop breathing, that’s the best way to spend the money. It’s fun, it’s small, but I don’t care. And if I lose some money, I don’t care. ‘Cause I’m having a good time.

Photo by Johnny Rozsa