Title: Paul Stanley Ukiyo-e
Artistic Director: Yuka Mitsui
Illustrator: Masumi Ishikawa
Woodcarver: Yusuke Sekioka
Printer: Tatsuya Ito
Size: 48 x 34 cm
KISS remains one of the most influential bands in the history of rock and roll. Well known for its members’ face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. With their make-up and costumes, they took on the personae of comic book-style characters: The Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), The Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley), and The Catman (Criss).
This image of frontman Paul Stanley putting on make-up is based on Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s ‘Token Gonbei, Kuniyoshi Moyo Shofuda Tsuketari Genkin Otoko’ (Men of Ready Money with True Labels Attached, Kuniyoshi Fashion) (see reference images).
The pattern of the Kimono is called jigoku-ezu (meaning Inferno). Gene Simmons is the Great King Yama, the judge of the dead, and the other two are demons. The logos on the Obi (kimono belt) are the members’ make-up transformed into a family crest, and the pattern ‘力’ of the towel on his left shoulder is inspired by Eric Singer’s outfit with the katakana character for ‘ka’. The poem written above Paul is the Japanese translation of the famous lyrics:
‘I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day.
You keep on shoutin’, you keep on shoutin’ (1975 Rock and Roll All Nite).
The translation is a direct contrast and a pun on the original text that appears in Kuniyoshi’s design that refers to the famous bandit looking at his reflection in the mirror.