Tom Iacuzio of the Daytona Beach News-Journal recently conducted an interview with KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Daytona Beach News-Journal: You were an art major and a graduate of the High School of Music & Art in New York City. How did that shape you?
Stanley: You know the great thing about specialized high school is that they allow for full academics plus a very intensive curriculum in music and art. For me it was great because I was a freak. In public school, I was the outcast, the freak. There, I was a freak in a school of freaks.
Daytona Beach News-Journal: What got you into painting?
Stanley: About seven years ago, I went through a divorce. You really get tired of screaming in a room by yourself. A friend of my said to me, "You need to paint." So I did. I wanted to be more about connecting emotionally than intellectually. Interestingly, once I started putting my own pieces up in my house among others I had owned, I started getting a lot of good feedback from them and at the time they weren't signed. I was still a little too self-conscious about them. But I realized that I really enjoyed it and if I could please myself, chances are I could please someone else.
Daytona Beach News-Journal: Do you think your acceptance in the art world has anything to do with your musical fame?
Stanley: No doubt my celebrity got my foot in the door. But in the end, it's just my foot. It could still get slammed shut on. People may like me for my music but that doesn't mean they'll by my art. Mindless adulation is a rare commodity.
Daytona Beach News-Journal: Who would you consider to be some of your influences?
Stanley: I really enjoy all art. There are thousands of artists who will never be viewed. I really enjoy Mark Rothko. I think he was fascinating because it was so deceptively simple. It pretty much chronicled his deterioration. But there's just so much out there. I'm a big believer that everyone should own art in some way, shape or form. It doesn't matter if you live in a one bedroom trailer or a penthouse. You should own something, even if it's just a print.
Daytona Beach News-Journal: What do you make of all the success you have had with your paintings?
Stanley: I think I've really pleased myself. It's futile to please others as a first step. I'd rather fail on my own terms that try to create something I think others would like and then fail. It goes back to the whole idea of pleasing yourself. Then the flip side of that is that if I succeed, I don't share the credit.
Daytona Beach News-Journal: How is painting different from songwriting?
Stanley: I think art is more intimate and more personal because it has less restriction. With music, you have to write the music, then find a melody and then write the lyrics that rhyme and go with it all. Art is more a fluid activity.
Daytona Beach News-Journal: If you had to pick between painting a ground breaking piece of art or writing a number one song, being that you've done both, where would your allegiances lie?
Stanley: What makes art interesting to me is that I am writing the history as I go. With music, you are up against your past. At some point you realize you are living in your own shadow.
Daytona Beach News-Journal: Is there any more life left in KISS?
Stanley: Yeah, I think so. But life doesn't necessarily mean another album. When you go to a concert, you want to hear the hits. You tolerate the new stuff. Everyone says they want new music but when it comes down to it you say, "That's great. Now play 'Love Gun'. "
Read the entire article at Daytona Beach News-Journal.