How old were you when you got into art and what exactly got you into art?
About 13 or so and it was to escape difficult situations at home. Interaction with my single parent was not good, and I would sit in my room for hours, drawing and painting, to avoid thinking about things… to escape into another world.
I understand that you’re a self-taught artist. Is there a specific reason why you opted not to have any formal art schooling or training?
I was very poor growing up, so college of any kind was never mentioned. Later on, someone told me that art schools squash individuality & creativity and I would be better off without it anyways.
Do you have any preference(s) as far as media (acrylic, pen & ink, pastel, charcoal, etc.)? If so, what is/are your preference(s)?
My favorite media is Pencil, because you can get the tightest detail that way. I also use chalk pastels, acrylic paints, and charcoal.
As an artist, who/what are some of your influences & inspirations and why?
Michelangelo for his outright insane technical skill, Dutch surrealist Renee Magritte for his dramatic imagination and Norman Rockwell. He did a painting called “The Virtuoso” of a violinist, and captured incredible detail in the subject’s hands as he played the violin. I saw it as a young teenager and remembered wanting to capture detail in hands and necks of my subjects with the accuracy that Rockwell did.
Why exactly is former KISS lead guitarist Ace Frehley such a huge focus of your work?
Ace is a lifelong inspiration. To me, he just sums up the spirit of Rock & Roll and artistic freedom. He’s real. His music, character and real life experiences are reflected in his music, with magic and yet without pretense. He speaks from the heart through his music, you know? Somehow he’s dramatic, imaginative, and yet straightforward. I find that to be uncommon and very inspirational. Life has been pretty rough for me, so far, but somehow this idea of the perfect painting of Ace I still need to do keeps me going no matter what.
What are some of your favorite KISS and Ace albums/songs and why?
Destroyer and Love Gun for classics like “God of Thunder” and “Shock Me”. I also love Psycho Circus because it symbolizes the KISS Reunion of 1996, which was a big deal for me. I drove 500 miles to see Ace & Peter back with KISS again! I think that was one of the most exciting times ever.
I love all of Ace’s solo work, especially during the Frehley’s Comet era. “Rock Soldiers” is my favorite song of all time.
Are you a fan of any of KISS’s non-Ace albums/songs? Why or why not?
Revenge comes to mind. I think that’s my favorite non-Ace KISS album. “Unholy” is a great song, I really like how it captures the dark mood of “God Of Thunder” somehow.
Discuss some of the other bands/artists whom you’ve made a focus of your work and why you chose those particular artists to focus on.
My favorite subjects are always ones who speak from the heart, ones who you get the impression that genuine self-expression is their motivation, like Jim Morrison and Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P.) for example. They have/had a lot to say, and there is some sort of wisdom and depth to the work so you don’t feel like they’re just trying to make a buck. You feel like they are real artists with something to say.
What are some of your favorite albums/songs by those bands/artists and why?
Almost anything by The Doors, but especially “The End”, “The Soft Parade” and “Riders on the Storm”. Things about exploring the wilderness of our own inner self. Examples of Blackie/W.A.S.P. stuff that fits are things like “Headless Children”, “Unholy Terror” and “The Crimson Idol”. Again, music with meaning behind it.
Are you planning on releasing a book of your work at some point? If so, please discuss. If not, why not?
I would love to release a picture-book of my different subjects over the years! I have done 20+ paintings of Jim Morrison alone, just as many of KISS, lots of other things too: Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and so on. I need to organize all my stuff and try to figure out how I might publish it. I think that’s a great idea.
Feel free to discuss any of your other endeavors here.
I really need to do more paintings of Ace outside of KISS. Frehley’s Comet/Trouble Walkin’ era Ace. I want to do a bunch of drawings and paintings in that time frame. Also I’ve been getting requests for classic Motley Crue. That might be fun! I also still have to do a perfect 3D shadow-box painting of Ace with KISS, Dynasty era, and make the Light Guitar actually light up with a teeny led light kit.
[This is an example of the prints for sale: https://70sthunder.ecrater.com/p/15213044/24×36-ace-frehley-fire-and-ice]
I really want to do an album cover. I hear that Ace is working on a new album and I am trying to figure out who/what to submit my samples to that I might have a chance at that. Can you imagine how cool that would be?!