03.17.10 A ROCKER'S ARTISTIC SIDE
By MICHELLE WU
Turns out, fronting for KISS may just be Paul Stanley's day job.
The legendary rock band's enigmatic singer has also been pursuing a career in the art world, when he's not on tour or recording.
Mr. Stanley, 58 years old, started selling his colorful abstract paintings at the Wentworth Gallery a few years ago. Last year, he garnered more than $3 million in sales. He has two new gallery shows opening in Florida this weekend.
When Mr. Stanley picked up the paint brush about 10 years ago, he never thought anyone would see his work, he said. He got into painting because he found it to be cathartic, a way to express emotion. "I really just felt I needed another creative outlet," he says.
In 2005, a friend in Hawaii encouraged him to put on a gallery show there, and he agreed. "I was speechless that it was a success and that people wanted to take the pieces home," he says.
Mr. Stanley's paintings are vibrant, colorful, acrylic-on-canvas creations, often featuring abstract patterns and geometric shapes. He describes his work as "kind of a giant stream of consciousness where I use color and texture instead of words."
Though both his music and his art serve as emotional outlets, the similarity between the two end there. "The beauty of art is that there really are no rules as for as I'm concerned—and if there are any, I don't want to want to hear about them," he says. "Music takes a lot more structure… With art, the only boundary is the edge of the canvas."
His upcoming exhibitions will open at Wentworth Gallery's locations in Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., this Friday and Saturday, respectively. Mr. Stanley's original artworks are priced from $15,000 to $80,000, and giclées, which are prints on canvas, sell for about $1,500 to $6,000.
The musician still spends the majority of his time focused on KISS, though. Following the October release of "Sonic Boom," the band's first studio album in 11 years, KISS will hit the road for a three month European tour in May. The enduring rock group, which rose to fame in the '70s and became known for its inventive live performances and marketing, is also working on an animated television show for kids. "We sing about things that are timeless," Mr. Stanley says of the group's broad appeal. "We sing about belief in yourself, celebrating life and following your dreams."
As for KISS's own celebrations, Mr. Stanley says that the band still embodies the storied revelry of its earlier days—but to a different extent. "With time your desire or lifestyle changes," he says. "But rock 'n' roll is as healthy and crazy as ever."