Paul Stanley is presenting his collection of art to Schaumburg at the Wentworth Gallery this September. This busy KISS frontman has released his second solo CD, Live to Win, and the live DVD One Live KISS. Stanley talked about art, TV shows and Adam Lambert.
Windy City Times: To start off, I used to listen your solo Starchild record all the time. You are my favorite member of KISS; I just thought you were the coolest!
Paul Stanley: Awwell, I was and I still am.
WCT: You have a new daughter this year. Congratulations!
PAUL STANLEY: Thank you. I have my six-month-old daughter who just had her first solid food today. I also have a little boy who is two.
WCT: That must keep you busy. What inspires you artistically?
PAUL STANLEY: Life. People bring up that my paintings started when there was turmoil in my life, which is true. I was using turmoil as a catalyst to reflect what was going on in my life in my paintings. Today my life is not tumultuous, but hardly a reason to not keep painting. If you are not inspired everyday then you need to go to sleep or wake up.
WCT: Painting is so relaxing for me. Is it for you?
PAUL STANLEY: Very much so. The process is the work towards a climax, to make an analogy. When the painting is done there is a sense of relief and satisfaction. I find the process relaxing but also an adventure with its share of adrenaline.
WCT: Do you have artists that you are influenced by?
PAUL STANLEY: If you are aware of the world around you, then you will find influences, whether they are conscious or not. There is no shortage of great art in the world. You can pick up Art News and it's humbling to see how much great art will never see the inside of a museum. With that being said, anyone from da Vinci to Monet from Picasso to Kandinsky can be an influence.
WCT: Did you study the great artists in school?
PAUL STANLEY: Not really. I was admitted into The High School of Music & Art in New York. I probably deserve a statue in front of the old school because I managed to fail artwhich is pretty impossible. I am not great with authority figures. I am not great at working for somebody else's schedule. To me, creativity is something that I do of my own volition. I am willing to work seven days a week but not on someone else's clock.
WCT: That's with your music, too.
PAUL STANLEY: Totally. The philosophy that runs through everything that I do is if I please myself then I definitely have one big fan. If I try to please other people then I may end up with none.
WCT: Would you ever do a reality show like Gene Simmons?
PAUL STANLEY: [ Laughs ] I leave that to Gene. I have no interest in that. Gene's a different breed. Gene would put a pot on his head if it would give him media attention. That's the difference between us. It's nice to see him enjoying what he does.
WCT: How was it performing on American Idol?
PAUL STANLEY: It was great. You can't argue with a way to get into 25 to 30 million homes. It was intriguing with that. We were asked to do it and we wanted to bring the whole arsenal. Once they said yes, it was a no-brainer.
WCT: How do you feel about Gene's statement that "Adam Lambert killed his career by coming out."
PAUL STANLEY: I think again, Gene is someone who enjoys antagonizing or doing something shocking to get media coverage. I think it was clear before Adam even came out, who he is and what he is. I can't imagine it was a shock to anybody. We are living in times where that shouldn't matter. If it matters to somebody, then hopefully they will be educated by the ones who see it as immaterial.
WCT: Gay fans tend to stay with celebrities forever, so I didn't get his point.
PAUL STANLEY: Yes, fans with blonde hair, fans with blue eyeswhat does it matter? Who are we to decide or legislate and pass laws on how anyone else should live? How can be prejudice on people's choices in life as long as they don't hurt anyone? We are only here once so whatever makes us happy. If we find satisfaction and enjoyment in our lives then we are lucky people.
WCT: You have played the Phantom of the Opera before. Are there any more musicals in the future?
PAUL STANLEY: I would. It was an incredible time for me, eight shows a week, standing ovations every show. Again, it was something that I went into where people in the theater were scared that I would desecrate their favorite musical and they wound up on their feet. I define myself by the challenges that I take on. I find creativity a great outlet. Whether its art, music or theater, if I get to expose someone who would not otherwise be exposed to it then I have done a great service. I think all of the arts suffer from an elitist group of people intimidating those who should be experiencing it into never wanting to go. They are afraid that lacking knowledge will make them feel stupid. It is not unusual for a critic to make you feel that your opinion is not valid. Everyone's opinion is valid because it is their own. What difference does it make that someone likes steak and you are a vegetarian? It's all about personal taste and nobody owes an explanation to anyone for what they like or don't.
WCT: I think that is a good attitude to have going in to an art show.
PAUL STANLEY: Absolutely. I would love for everyone to come to gallery shows or to theater and make of it what you will. If you don't like my art, go home and do your own. If you do like my art, go home and do your own. The potential inside each one of us is unlimited. The only thing that is limited is the boundary that we put on ourselves.
WCT: I like that. Now we can see this for ourselves in a suburb of Chicago, Schaumburg.
PAUL STANLEY: In Chicago, the shows have been amazing in the past. Chicago has always been a terrific town. From my days at the Aragon Ballroom, Illinois has always been great for me whether you are going to MK or Wiener Circle!
Paul Stanley will be appearing with his works of art on Friday, Sept. 11, 7-9 p.m, and Saturday, Sept. 12, 5-8 p.m. at the Wentworth Gallery, 5 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg; call 847-995-1190 or visit www.wentworth-art.com .