By Photojournalist Chaz Dykes
It’s not every day that you answer your phone and when you say hello, the other person says, Hi, it’s Paul Stanley. That’s exactly what happened.
Many of you know Paul from his amazing music career and the iconic band KISS which he co-founded. But what you may not know: He is also an acclaimed Visual Artist.
Paul started painting about 20 years ago, after a friend suggested he try it to help get him through some tough times.
“I was going through some tough personal times and my best friend said you should paint. Although that caught me off guard, I was also kind of intrigued by it. I went out and bought paint and an easel and brushes and covered my floor with newspaper and started painting. I’m certainly open to any possible means of self-expression. I guess part of my life is saying when others say why, I say why not.”
When he first started painting, it was more for therapeutic reasons. He didn’t intend for anyone to see any of his work.
“At first it was just kind of a stream of consciousness or purging with color, but it was very therapeutic, very cathartic. I never intended on anybody seeing any of the pieces, but I did hang a few in the house that I particularly liked. Invariably, people would come over and ask me who did it, and I would have to say, me. I didn’t sign pieces back then because I was too self-conscious. Years later, a gallery owner in Maui said he’d like to do an exhibit of my work. I was ambivalent and hesitant, but I did it. I was shocked and surprised and very humbled that people acquired pieces and took them home. So that was really the start of what today has become, oh my gosh, so much bigger and more successful and joyous actually than I ever could have imagined.”
When it comes to inspiration, it is very organic and in the moment without boundaries. There is a love for color from a life full of inspiring times.
“I paint whatever comes to mind at the moment. Knowing that my life, up until the moment I start painting, is pretty damn full of inspiring times, and that’s reflected in my use of color. I really believe that color validates and reinforces how we view life. I believe, corny as it may seem, that on its worst day, life’s a miracle and I take it as such and I paint without limitations. I paint without putting up barricades or trying to work within the boundaries that someone set.’
As creatives we often wonder what others may think of our work. Sometimes we fall prey to the negative opinions of others. It’s important to follow our instincts and free yourself of those constrictions.
“It’s important for all of us to listen to our inner voice and not be sabotaged from doing what we’d like, regardless of the outcome, or being hindered by other people’s opinions or other people’s directives. There’re enough people around who are going to tell you what’s impossible, and those are the people who failed, and the rest of them are afraid of seeing you succeed anyway, so those aren’t the people you need in your corner. You need people who are there to tell you it’s all possible, and the discovery of who you are comes from taking chances.”
A lot of creative people have more than one outlet for expressing themselves. It was very interesting to find out how they differ from each other.
“I think they’re very different and only similar in that it’s my interpretation of something, but I believe music has more limitations in the sense that it’s got more structure. The musical components of a song, whether it’s an intro or verse or chorus or bridge, or what have you, and then you need a lyric and you need a rhyme scheme and a topic. Whereas in art, I just want to let go.
Not wanting to have any one particular style, Paul does have a love for color, it’s very important in creating his art and helps him shed any boundaries of self-expression.
“What’s consistent in my art is color and that’s because, to me, color is really a reflection of my life and how I view life. It’s vibrant and even on its worst day, it’s vibrant so for me, painting is just another means of self-expression. The most important part of It is to stay pure and I don’t want to be influenced by anyone else in in terms of limiting. I think being inspired by other painters in the case of art is only natural, and I think that’s something that that inspires you to go higher. But the idea of having a single style, that really is of no interest to me because that becomes to me a boundary. I’m far from Picasso and he lived and lives in rarified era. But he did say that if he had to describe himself, he would say he was a painter without a style. I think that’s great. I’m not working to create a consistent style, I’m working to create consistent expression.
You can see Paul’s art at the Wentworth Galleries, and they offer a variety of ways to buy his art. Other galleries would like to have his artwork, but he is very happy where he is right now.
“I work through the Wentworth gallery chain because I like the family, the O’Mahonys, who own it. I’m very happy where I am, and we make sure that yes, the originals are available and invariably are sold, but we also do what we call clays which are high res scans on canvas. It’s absolutely perfect, and oftentimes almost indistinguishable from an original. We have those and then there are what we call mixed media originals, where we take those, and I paint on them. So, they become an original in that sense and that’s a way of trying to make something accessible to more people. Art looks great whether you’re in an RV or in an estate, it just it makes life more vibrant.”
Paul has a lot of excitement for two of his most recent works called Quality Time Remaining.
“There’s the two most recent pieces called Quality Time Remaining. One is blue, and one is red. It’s really kind of my reminder to myself. After seeing so many people in the last few years that I know have died, passed away, and just a reminder to live without excuses and die without regrets. We have something called QTR, which is an acronym that I certainly live by. That’s Quality Time Remaining, take into account what you’re doing with your time.”
I really enjoyed my conversation with Paul. I am inspired by his constant journey of self-expression, the value of having no limits or boundaries to how you should live and the importance that we all should be free to express ourselves in whatever manner makes us happy. I would like to thank Paul for his time and the wonderful words of encouragement he gave my son Donovan. I wish you all the best on your colorful path as a Visual Artist.
If you’re interested in Paul’s art, you can visit the Wentworth galleries website at this link. https://www.wentworthgallery.com
For more about Paul’s art or everything else Paul Stanley, visit his website. https://www.paulstanley.com