Quirky Traits Of Your Favorite Artists

Published November 16, 2016
Updated January 17, 2024

It takes some serious eccentricity to produce timeless works of art.

Artists tend to be an eccentric lot. After all, it takes a good amount of mental and emotional contortion to bring the deepest parts of the human imagination to life.

Indeed, behind the works of our most beloved artists are fascinating — if not troubled — personalities with strange habits and quirks. Some embodied the starving artist and lived in their own filth for the majority of their lives. Others treated their craft like a test of endurance, writing while standing on their feet for hours or painting inside of a hot car.

If anything, these peculiarities helped develop the level of mastery displayed in their work. Check out the strange personal quirks of some of history’s most famous artists below:

Andy Warhol Had A Big-Time Foot Fetish

Andy Warhol

Wikimedia Commons

Before he became the poster-boy for pop art and thus a commercial success, many considered Andy Warhol to be a pretty bizarre (if not clinically so) guy. Among his many unusual habits – including being a bit of a hoarder and having more than 40 wigs – Warhol had a serious foot and shoe fetish. Indeed, the artist had dozens upon dozens of drawings of feet and shoes.

“There are drawings of feet with Coke bottles, soup cans, dogs, American flag motifs and seashells. There are also photos of feet, like Mick Jagger’s, that are not the sources of the drawings but works by themselves. He had a real fascination and attraction for feet,” said Matt Wrbican, chief archivist of The Andy Warhol Museum.

Warhol used to collect lots of random stuff (or he just never threw anything away), which accumulated in 641 boxes referred to as Warhol’s Time Capsules. And among his thousands of artifacts, Warhol even had a mummified foot from ancient Egypt.

Michelangelo Was Awfully Stinky


Wikimedia Commons

While the image of the starving artist is now a cliché, Michelangelo may very well have been one of the trope’s pioneers — so much so that he actually took it overboard.

Michelangelo’s biographer, Ascanio Condivi, states that Michelangelo lived in unbelievable squalor: Condivi writes that the painter slept in his clothes and boots and wouldn’t remove them for long periods of time. When Michelangelo did finally remove his boots, his feet had festered so much inside that his skin would peel off with the leather.

Michelangelo’s putrid lifestyle came at the advice of his father. When Michelangelo was 25 years old, his father wrote him a letter telling him that not bathing would keep his health in tip-top shape. His dad may have had a point – Michelangelo lived until he was 89, a rarity for the time.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.