Macaulay Culkin is now an artist – and you can tell by his pants

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Macaulay Culkin looked like he was part of an art project on the streets of New York City earlier this week, wearing paint-splattered jeans that give us flashbacks of bad ’80s fashion. But the former child star has a good reason to be rocking the painter look: he’s been focusing on a career as an artist – and is so serious about it that he’s converted his Manhattan apartment into an art studio.

Still looking thin but not emaciated, Culkin – who in addition to messy, ripped jeans was also wearing a leather jacket and some Johnny Depp-style weathered boots – puffed on a cigarette while trying to evade photographers on Thursday. The “Home Alone” star ended up jumping into a cab, which sped off … perhaps to an art supply store?

[Related: Macaulay Culkin Turns 32]

For the last year, Culkin has been working with his friends Adam Green and Toby Goodshank on an art exhibit called “Leisure Inferno,” which recently opened and is showing until December at the gallery Le Poisson Rouge. While prepping for the show, the guys – who call themselves Three Men and a Baby (3MB) – converted Culkin’s $2 million apartment into an art studio.

"We cleared out everything, laid down plastic, and went little nuts at the art supply store," the 32-year-old said in a video he shot with Green and Goodshank, who are both in the indie band Moldy Peaches. As for the inspiration for their art, he added, "We use a lot of iconography from our youths and stuff like that: ‘The Masters of the Universe,’ or Korn, or whatever. … The sillier and the funner, the better.”

Throughout the video, Culkin appears barefoot and wears – you guessed it! – paint-covered jeans. In one shot, his cat darts out from behind a canvas. He also has a funny collection of art supplies, which includes leopard print art tape.

In the summer, a shocking report in a tabloid stated that the actor had a $6,000 a week heroin and painkillers habit and had turned his apartment into a drug den. It also projected that he had only months to live. A rep for Culkin quickly shot down the story, calling it “not only categorically without merit but it is also impossibly and ridiculously fictitious,” but photos of the actor looking scary skinny didn’t really help his case.

Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend Mila Kunis – whom he dated from 2002 to 2010 – has been spending a lot of quality time with her new boyfriend, Ashton Kutcher, in the Big Apple. Last weekend they packed on the PDA while taking a comic book tour, and wore matching outfits to watch a football game. And, for the record, neither one had on paint-splattered jeans.

[Related: Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher support 'da Bears'

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