PAUL BRANCHES OUT
November 30, 2007
Pictured is Paul's new painting 'Liberty'.

Paul Stanley has been branching out from merely making music in recent years. The guitarist and vocalist for iconic hard rock band KISS (he's the one with the star surrounding his right eye) has taken up painting, and he's accomplished enough to have landed an exhibit in South Florida.

Stanley, 55, appears from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Wentworth Gallery, The Gardens Mall, 3101 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-624-0656 or 800-732-6140. From 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Stanley will appear at the Town Center Mall, 6000 Glades Rd., Boca Raton; 561-338-0804 or 800-732-6140. Call for details on VIP receptions.

When did you start seriously getting into your art?

I never really applied myself -- although I was gifted, according to many people -- until about eight years ago. I was going through a rough time and a friend of mine told me, 'You need to paint.' It was a revelation for me, and I went out and bought brushes, paint, etc., without a clue as to what I was doing. I decided to approach it as an emotional release -- I wasn't interested in making a landscape look like a landscape. It was using color and texture to convey a feeling. The idea was to go on a journey where you don't know where you're going, but you know when you've arrived.

When I hung the first one I was pleased with in my house, invariably everyone would be drawn to it and asked me who painted it. I was too shy to sign it at that time.

All things considered, when I get to go into a gallery that's covered in my paintings, it's an amazing sense of empowerment and fills me with gratitude. It's staggering -- and I don't use that word lightly -- and humbling.

You starred in the Phantom of the Opera in Toronto. Any more acting gigs on the horizon?

I'd love to do Phantom on Broadway. I went to New York and auditioned for them, [but] as economics would have it, they didn't feel it was necessary to pay me what I was receiving.

Whose idea was KISS' stage makeup and the outfits?

It came from four people, and the synergy and the bouncing ideas off each other. It was not the result of one person's vision.

Are you guys touring again any time soon?

We've just announced shows in Australia and New Zealand -- we're playing the Melbourne Grand Prix. We did about five shows this summer in the States, just to grease the gears. It's an enormous operation to get this moving.

Do you visit Miami often?

I get to Miami either when the band is touring or on a few social visits. Over the past 35 years, I've been there about, well, 35 times.

Any favorite hangouts here? Clubs, bars, restaurants?

For me any gallery trip has to include the best restaurant and the best bottle of wine. I remember The Forge -- everybody knows The Forge.

What do you love most about Miami?

As a young boy I used to come to Miami often and there was a time where -- at least to people not living in Miami -- it was called 'God's waiting room.' I used to visit my grandfather in the summer and we'd find out who had the free luaus at the hotels and we'd go eat.

The great thing about warm weather is it brings out beautiful women. There's a lot that can be covered up with layers of clothing -- when you don't have that luxury, everybody wins.

What do you not love?

The humidity -- it hits you as soon as the door of the airplane opens. It's just oppressive.

-- MICHAEL HAMERSLY