07.16.08 PAUL STANLEY'S ROCKIN' ART
After all, one of the most visited art museums in the world is home to many famous works, like Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," something an artist like Stanley likely would appreciate seeing in person.
But Stanley isn't just another artist. He's probably better known for being able to rock and roll all night and party every day as the flamboyant frontman for the legendary rock band KISS.
And despite the fact that KISS completed its most successful tour of Europe ever in the band's long history - playing 29 concerts in seven weeks that concluded in late June - it's Stanley's artwork that takes center stage once he puts down his guitar.
Local KISS fans, as well as art aficionados, will get a chance to view some of that artwork when Stanley makes two special appearances at the Wentworth Gallery in King of Prussia Mall Friday, July 25, from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, July 26, from 5 to 8 p.m.
"I look forward to painting," said Stanley in a telephone interview from Paris a few weeks before KISS wrapped up the European tour. "It's something that I take a certain amount of . . . oh, I don't know . . . there is a calming factor to know that at the end of this tour, I get to go into a room by myself and create from another part of my brain."
After reigning for more than 30 years as one of the most recognizable frontmen in the history of rock and roll, Stanley has embarked on a new career as a painter and has had some considerable initial success selling more than $2 million of his artwork in 2007. His King of Prussia appearance is part of an exhibition of his works touring the U.S. with the Wentworth Galleries.
"There are certainly going to be people who come (to the galleries) because of a connection that is first, and more primary for some, for what you're best known for. You're bound to have that," said Stanley. "I tend to say that my notoriety gets my foot in the door . . . but then you're free to slam the door on my foot.
"But at the end of the day, having spoken to enough of the galleries and their owners, there is a good amount of people initially who are drawn to the work without knowing who did it."
Stanley said that painting has been a road to self-discovery for him and that he initially didn't paint with the idea of showing his work to anybody.
"The first piece that I hung in my house I found very surprising that people were drawn to it," he said. "They would ask me who did and where it was from. But I hung it because I was very pleased with it and the bonus was that it was moving other people.
"When it became obvious that there was a demand for my work, I absolutely had to make sure that the business aspect was taken care of. But business is only necessitated by success. I don't do things initially for the business of it. The business is something that is both a necessary evil and a terrific reward."
His art at this point is very much unscripted, Stanley said. He doesn't do preliminary sketches nor does he sketch on the canvas. He prefers to work "in a stream of consciousness and that way, the piece is as revealing for me as it might be for someone else."
"For me, the beauty of abstract art is that it's really ultimately about what someone finds in it and that goes for me, too," he said. "I can certainly, when asked at a gallery, explain my reality of the piece, but I will then tell someone that ultimately what's more important is their reality of the piece."
This isn't the rocker's first venture outside the KISS perimeters. Stanley also has achieved success and rave reviews on the stage performing for six months in 1999 to standing-room-only crowds as The Phantom in the Toronto stage version of "Phantom of the Opera."
But now that KISS has successfully toured Europe, it's all about the painting.
"To do a gallery show and be surrounded by works that I created that have been met with such acceptance is very gratifying," said Stanley. "I'm blessed in that I have been able to take the intangible and make something tangible out of it, whether it's rock music or theater or fine arts."
He calls it a "road of discovery we all get to go on together."
"Painting is a very solitary and very intimate experience," he said. "Ultimately, it's shared, but the process isn't, so it's tremendously and deeply enjoyable because it's very profound for me.
"I've never done anything except to please myself, whether it's doing theater or doing KISS or doing painting at this point," said Stanley. "They are things I do very much for personal fulfillment and the icing on the cake is the accolades and pleasure that others get from it."
There also is a VIP reception with Stanley planned for Saturday, July 26, from 4 to 5 p.m. For details on that event, call 610-337-8988 or 1-800-732-6140.
For more information on Stanley or to view his artwork, go to www.paulstanley.com. For information on Wentworth Gallery, go to www.wentworthgallery.com.