Paul Stanley rock 'n' rolls all night and paints (almost) every day

(Credit: Urbanite)

By Pete Catapano

He’s more famous for painting his face, not canvases, but for years Paul Stanley, frontman for the legendary rock band Kiss, has been making the move from huge arenas to small galleries. Stanley, 57, will be in New Jersey this weekend for two art shows featuring his paintings and sculptures. The native New Yorker filled us in on his art:

When did you start painting?

About eight years ago. I’ve probably done 26 shows in the last year-and-a-half. Usually once a month I’m in some city in America doing an art show and this weekend is no different.

How would you describe your art style?

The one common thread to everything is color. I look upon painting as a challenge in terms of depicting emotions and feelings. So as far as “a style,” I don’t find at this moment there is a particular style as much as there is a point of view about color.

Do you have any training?

No ... I went to the High School of Music and Art, now the LaGuardia School of the Arts. I went there for art. I was one of those people who had the dubious distinction of failing art. That had more to do with having a problem with authority figures.

Do you still have that?

Um, thankfully I looked for a job where the authority is me. [Laughs.]

Paul Stanley's "Mona Lisa"

How does your art reflect your personality?

For me art is like going a trip without a map. In other words, I just want to instinctively find where my comfort is and what I’m feeling at any time.

At times the art comes in almost stream of consciousness using color and texture instead of words. Then they are other pieces where I try to deal with iconic pieces, the Mona Lisa or the Statue of Liberty. What I start the piece, I know what I’m going to paint, but how I’m going to paint it, I’m clueless. It’s just going to evolve.

Painting is cathartic… because I connect to it emotionally, it seems others connect to it emotionally.

What kind of satisfaction does painting give you that music doesn’t give you and vice versa?

It’s much more initiate and it’s much more personal in the sense that it lives without a lot of the structure that music does. If you write a song you have to have music and you have to have melody that fits the music and a rhyme scheme that fits the others. With painting for me there’s no boundaries, there’s no limits. In painting, the only limit is the edge of the canvas.

How often do you paint?

I try to paint three or four time a week, sometimes it’s a bit difficult with the schedule, but I try to make sure that times is reserved.

What can fans expect from the new Kiss record?

It’s very much an album that picks up where we left off in the 70s. It’s not an album that reflects trying to pick up whatever current.

We’ve been out a lot on the Kiss Alive 35 tour. Our biggest and most successful tour of Europe, we did 30 shows and about 400,000 people and we leave for South America — a bunch of stadiums — in April.

And the band has never sounded better or more focused. And playing the Kiss Alive album and a lot of other classic songs has really just wetted out appetite to go in the studio and transfer that, that same feeling and ferocity into new material.

Do you ever get tired of playing the old stuff?

I would never, ever grow tired of those songs. The songs have made me both incredibly satisfied and rich and made a lot of other people very, very happy. It would be a show of disrespect — and maybe not deserving — to grow tired of something that’s meant that much.

Paul Stanley’s art will be on display at the Wentworth Galleries this weekend.

Wentworth Gallery: The Shops at Riverside, 171 Riverside Sq., Hackensack, N.J. Friday, 6-9 p.m.

Wentworth Gallery: The Mall at Short Hills, 1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills, N.J. Saturday,

4-7 p.m.

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