KISS / RAINBOW / MANOWAR Artist KEN KELLY Dead At 76
June 3, 2022, 3 weeks ago
American artist Ken Kelly has died at the age of 76. Kelly was a fantasy artist and created iconic artwork for KISS, Rainbow, Manowar, and most recently Eternal Champion’s 2020 album Ravening Iron.
Kelly depicted fantasy, sword and sorcery heroes Conan The Barbarian and Tarzan while also creating the artwork for KISS’ Destroyer and Love Gun, Rainbow’s Rising, several albums from Manowar, and Ace Frehley's Space Invader record.
In a 2016 interview Kelly discussed collaborating with Rainbow: “I have to preface it with what happened before I came to Rainbow. Rainbow itself was a very simple cover to do but I don’t want to misrepresent that. It was a difficult cover, it was a unique cover, but I have to give Ritchie Blackmore the credit for it. He knew exactly what he wanted. So, when I came into his office and after we greeted each other and sat down and started talking about the cover, I believe it comes from one of the songs – the actual reaching of the hand out to the rainbow. I had just been completely overwhelmed with KISS and what I did for them, so I was very prepared when Rainbow called and then I went into their office and they dictated the cover.
“So I left the office with a complete painting in my head, I simply had to go home and use the disciplines that we’re taught as artists and do what Ritchie said and that’s what I did. I didn’t think about it much at the time, but it’s stayed alive for forty years, it’s amazing, it’s incredible and it was a masterpiece because that’s what Ritchie asked for. He still knows what he’s doing to this day and he did back then. I would love to say I created everything and it’s all mine, but that’s simply not true.”
BraveWords sends our condolences out to Kelly's family and friends.