Tough news for legendary KISS bassist Gene Simmons as he’s had to delay his first-ever art exhibit while dealing with COVID-19.
According to Rolling Stone, Simmons will showcase his artwork at the Venetian’s Animazing Gallery starting Oct. 21. The original plan was for him to open the exhibit on Oct. 14. But his own health issues related to COVID-19 and KISS‘ revamped tour schedule pushed it back one week.
He has been working on his art with sketches, drawings, and paintings covering a 50-year time span.
“Moving to the United States from Israel as a young boy, I didn’t speak English,” Simmons said in a statement. “I fell in love with comics and American television, and they not only helped me learn the language but inspired creativity and a passion for drawing and painting.
“I started doodling and drawing when I was eight years of age,” he said. “And as a teenager, I had hundreds of illustrations [under the name Gene Klein] published in fanzines created by and for sci-fi and comic book enthusiasts.”
KISS Hit Stages With Simmons, Stanley, Frehley, Criss In 1973
Millions of rock music fans around the world have followed Simmons’ career since 1973. That’s when “The Demon,” or Simmons in glam-rock makeup and costume, first hit stages in New York City.
Simmons, along with Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss, started making people aware of their presence. It wasn’t hard to recognize KISS thanks to their on-stage clothes and use of pyrotechnics. These days, only Simmons and Stanley are still part of the band. Frehley and Criss left in 1982 but did return years later briefly for a comeback album.
Getting back to the bassist’s artwork, Simmons said Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol were key influences.
One time, Simmons had a chance to watch Warhol paint in person.
Band’s Bassist Used Pandemic Break In Tour To Pull Out His Art
“I have had no professional training; I just like to draw and paint,” Simmons said. “I don’t always know where I‘m going, and then all of a sudden, I’m on my way. I have great respect and admiration for art and artists, and I’m excited that people like the work that has resulted from what I consider to be my lifelong hobby.”
He used the tour break caused by the pandemic to pull out his art from storage. Simmons said, “It reignited my passion for drawing and painting again.”
Nicholas Leone, chief executive officer of Animazing Gallery, said that he knew Simmons had many talents “but I had no idea that he was such an incredible artist.”