What happens when you mix the work of renowned fantasy artist Ken Kelly and theatrical hard rock legends KISS? Why, pure rock n’ roll magic, of course!
With their mix of out-of-this-world stage costumes, massive amounts of world-shaking pyro, and more hooks than a tackle shop, shock rock icons KISS have captivated the imagination of fans worldwide for five decades. I’ll never forget being absolutely terrified of Gene “The Demon” Simmons when I laid eyes on him in the “I Love It Loud” video on MTV when I was a little kid. They’ve had my attention ever since!
Ken Kelly (1946-2022) was a renowned American artist working primarily in the genre of fantasy. A student (and nephew through marriage) of fantasy art icon Frank Frazetta, Kelly’s work has been featured on the covers of Creepy and Eerie magazines and a multitude of album covers, the most well-known among them being KISS’ landmark 1976 album Destroyer. Ever the horror fan, Gene Simmons contacted Kelly after seeing his work on those aforementioned Warren mags. Kelly showed interest, and a relationship was born.
After the smash success of Destroyer, Simmons reached out to Kelly to do the art for the band’s follow-up, Love Gun. The piece we’re offering in our upcoming music memorabilia auction is perhaps even more special than the art that was used for the cover. This painting is the only time Kelly ever painted his original concept for Love Gun. It’s remarkably like the art used by the record label, showing the band members as fantastic warriors surrounded by a throng of adoring white-faced women, with one major difference: they’re topless!
The work has to be seen to be believed. It’s the same large 36” x 36” size as our previously offered “KISS Brown” Kelly painting, with these colors absolutely radiating off the canvas. The work of a true master, if you stare too long you’ll feel as if Gene may spit blood right in your face! Any serious collector of KISS or Ken Kelly’s wondrous art would be crazy to not pull the trigger of this “Love Gun.”
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