YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A special exhibit opened Saturday at the Butler Institute of American Art: Legendary KISS frontman Paul Stanley was in town to unveil his first museum exhibit — named “The Other Side” — during a private reception.
It’s safe to say Stanley is “larger than life.” You can see it in his appearance on and off stage, and through his works of art. The color grabs your attention, like it’s jumping off the canvas.
“For me, color symbolizes an attitude — and to me, life is vibrant and it should be an explosion,” said Stanley.
An explosion of creativity, color dancing on a canvas — for Stanley, art was never about perfection. It was about expression, emotion, a rush of feeling.
“My life is vibrant and of my own doing. It doesn’t happen by chance. You make a commitment to making your life what you want it to be,” he said.
The legendary singer/songwriter has been painting for 20 years.
The exhibit, “The Other Side,” includes 16 works, several self-portraits of his KISS “Starchild” persona. Others are nods to music and film stars, and some abstract pieces — many with the image of an electric guitar as stars, hearts and flags float through the scenes.
“It’s very humbling — I started off with the idea of painting for myself, never with an idea that that I would ever show anybody, and certainly never with an idea of anybody purchasing my art,” Stanley said.
Executive director of the museum Lou Zona said the work captures the essence of our visual universe.
“Art should lift our spirits — I think that it should do that and his work certainly does that on many levels,” Zona said. “We’re so grateful that he chose the Butler Institute to have his first museum exhibition in Youngstown.”
Stanley said his art is a reflection of his life.
“I always thought of myself not as having a ‘why’ attitude but a ‘why not’ — why not try something when you’re intimidated? It’s usually because other people tell you what’s impossible, and the people that tell you what’s impossible are the ones who failed — so misery loves company,” Stanley said. “A lot of people don’t want you to succeed at something, but I’m here to tell you, once again, if you give yourself the opportunity, you’ll be surprised at what you can do”
Saturday’s reception for the opening of Stanley’s exhibit “The Other Side” also served as a fundraiser for the museum, helping to fund the Butler’s accessibility efforts.
You can see this artwork starting Sunday through Oct. 8.