Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale: Paul Stanley at Wentworth Gallery
There’s an acronym that Kiss frontman Paul Stanley lives by these days. It’s one, he says, that he and longtime manager Doc McGhee have adopted over the last few years to qualify how precious each day is as the years grow shorter.
“QTR,” said Stanley, who turned 71 on January 20. “Quality Time Remaining. We only have so long, and where are we going to best use that time?”
Now entering the final leg of Kiss’ four-year End of the Road world tour, packed with all the exciting theatrics, fireworks and fun party music that made the band famous, Stanley plans to spend much of his remaining years painting. He says that art allows him to free his mind and live in the moment, which is why he begins each piece without a plan or vision.
“The more free I am, and the fewer restrictions and boundaries I place on myself, the more comfortable I become with who I am and who I find myself to be,” he explains. “My art really hopscotches around styles because I don’t want a style, so to speak – I want to paint with a sense of abandonment.”
It seems to work. Stanley’s acrylic on canvas paintings became so popular that they found their way into art exhibitions and private collections of collectors and fellow musicians.
click to enlarge “My Robert Johnson piece, called Crossroads, is in Jimmy Page’s country house, so that’s a pretty good place of reference,” notes Stanley.
His paintings will hang alongside such greats as Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe and Mary Cassett in a summer 2023 exhibit at the Butler Institute of American Art. But before then, South Florida fans can sign an original piece and meet Stanley in person on February 3rd and 4th at the Wentworth Gallery’s locations at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood and the Town Center at Boca Raton.
Take a selfie with Stanley, get your gear signed, or talk about art. Just don’t start the conversation with, “I don’t know anything about art, but…”
“I’ll stop them right there and say, ‘What do you need to know?'” Stanley says of his typical response to that statement. “If it touches you emotionally, then it’s valid. You don’t need a degree or an education in art to know what you like.”
After 50 years before one of the most successful acts in rock history, Stanley and Kiss have sold more than 100 million albums and garnered more acclaim than most musicians could ever dream of. Stanley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; appeared in countless films, cartoons and television shows; modeled action figures and every type of merchandise imaginable after him; co-founder of a restaurant; design a jewelry line; and owns a vineyard. And that’s the shortlist.
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Paul Stanley’s portrait of his Starchild persona
Paul Stanley photo
Yet painting resonates with him in a way that nothing else does. He describes his work as “bright, like the warmth of the sun and swift like a strong cold breeze – all the things that affirm life, all the things that affirm the vitality of life.”
An eternal optimist, Stanley encourages anyone interested in painting or any other artistic outlet to dive in head first.
“I think we need to stop worrying about what others think, and similarly we need to stop worrying about how we’re going to be perceived, not only by others, but by ourselves,” he adds. “There are so many people around who will tell you what is impossible or judge what you do. For God’s sake, don’t be one of them.”
And how does one do that?
“Just believe in yourself,” says Stanley. “Give yourself the opportunity to fail, but also give yourself enough leeway to know the difference between failure and things turning out differently than you expected.”
Stanley’s positivity and zest for life are as vibrant as his paintings. He is the perfect cheerleader for others and leads by example.
“I’m a big believer that life on its worst day is a miracle,” he explains. “It may not always be happy, but we are blessed.”
click to enlarge Few people realize that Stanley is quite shy and something he has struggled to overcome all his life.
“Some people have mistaken my shyness for snobbery,” he says. “I honestly think that a lot of the people that you might be familiar with as entertainers are actually insecure, shy, and they cover it up with the opposite. The idea that someone is comfortable in front of a crowd and looking for validation from that. , that’s quite noticeable to me. The fact that they may be insane about it doesn’t hide the need for the attention.”
But some of that attention will soon fade, because after numerous “final” tours, the current one will probably be Kiss’ last.
“No matter how good I feel, or hopefully look, there’s a reality, and that, coupled with the physicality of what we’re doing, makes it smart to end the tour,” says Stanley.
A long list of surgeries, including a hip replacement and surgeries on both knees and shoulders, led to the harsh reality for Stanley that there was an expiration date on touring with Kiss. Night after night, high-octane performances in costumes weighing as much as 40 pounds eventually take their toll.
“It can’t go on forever because we’re not running around the stage in T-shirts and blue jeans,” he adds. “We’re athletes, and frankly, there aren’t any athletes our age. I just think that Gene [Simmons] and especially I begin to realize at some point that it is finite.”
Touring with Kiss aside, Stanley has no plans to slow down anytime soon. He plans to continue making music, painting and keeping busy with his family, friends and business ventures.
click to enlarge “I don’t know what else I would do – sit and eat Cheetos and watch television?” he said laughing. “There’s too much to do that strengthens and affirms my life, and it’s really just for me. Riding my bike for 25 miles is great. It’s not about being an exercise fanatic; it’s about feeling the wind in my face, breathing clean air. . There is too much to experience in life to replace sitting on my butt.”
Still, after a long pause, Stanley can’t think of anything he wants to accomplish before he dies that he hasn’t already done. He doesn’t think in those terms.
“I think bucket lists are the antithesis of how we should live, because what do you do when you’ve crossed everything off your list?” he says. “A bucket list should just be a work in progress. Every day, or every so often, you should come up with something new. That list should never end.”
The list may not end, but unfortunately, touring with Kiss has to. And Stanley has a message for the millions of heartbroken members of the Kiss army who can’t wrap their heads around the idea that they’ll never experience the greatness of Kiss live again.
“There is no way to end this bond,” he says. “We’re part of Americana; we’re part of people’s lives. We’ll turn into something else, and we’ll always exist.”
Paul Stanley. 7 p.m. Friday, February 3, at the Wentworth Gallery at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 5804 Seminole Way, Suite 103, Hollywood; and 4 p.m. Saturday, February 4, at the Wentworth Gallery in Downtown Boca Raton, 6000 Glades Rd., Boca Raton. Entry is free.