Peter Max rose to fame in the 1960s with his psychedelic figures and vibrant colors. To this day, he remains a star of the art world, and a painter whose life and career are as colorful as his canvases, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.
For 50 years, artist Peter Max has been a mainstay on the American art scene, churning out thousands of works on everything from traditional canvass, to stages and airplanes.
Each Peter Max original bears his unique signature, though it might be argued that his true signature is color.
When Beatles drummer Ringo Star wanted to customize his Baldwin piano, he mailed one to Peter Max.
"And I think 'This is gonna be red, this I'll do in peach, this maybe in pink,' And then I started painting it," Max said. "So now, Baldwin was so excited that I did a nice piano for Ringo, about four days later, I get the same crate again."
Inside was another black piano.
"And I see a note in there that they want me to have a piano," Max said. "So I was thrilled, and I painted mine slightly different colors."
Pianos aside, Max has painted a fair share of portraits for the rich and famous, from movie stars to rock stars and presidents.
"I don't think I painted anybody that I don't like. But you know, I like people in general," Max said. "When I did Mick Jagger, it was fun to paint. I even like the Statue of Liberty -- and I like her, and we never spoke."
Although his work has been seen by more than a billion people, asking Max what has enabled him -- now 77 -- to stay relevant for a half century is useless.
"I don't even think about maintaining a relevance. I just think about what do I want to paint, what am I gonna do now, what am I gonna do later," Max said. "I just love the moment."
Art historian Charles A. Riley said Max has a pulse on what's current.
"He takes what's going on right now and, like a really good journalist, he spins on a dime and turns it into art," Riley said.
Riley said Max's legacy is already being felt, even as he continues to build it.
"He's become an element, shall we say, a building block, of Instagram, or Photoshop, just think about the way people doctor the photos on their Facebook page, take the image, do something with it," Riley said. "What he does with it, of course, he boosts the color, he makes it glow in this kind of iconic way. That's everywhere now."
Max insists, in his own yoga-cool style, that he doesn't think about things like legacy.
"Some people remember me for my color, some people remember me as a friend," Max said. "You know, different, whatever."