Ken Kelly, the artist behind the traditional Kiss album covers for Destroyer and Love Gun, has reportedly died on the age of 76.

Multiple sources confirmed Kelly’s demise, together with his good friend Danny Stanton, President and Founder of Coallier Entertainment.

Born in Connecticut in 1946, Kelly started his profession within the early ’70s engaged on comics and horror magazines for Warren Publishing. It was Kiss drummer Peter Criss who put the artist on the band’s radar.

“I always thought it was Gene Simmons, but Criss’ wife said it was him who read Eerie and Creepy while Gene and Paul Stanley read Marvel comics,” Kelly famous to Print journal in 2018. “Well, I’d say Peter Criss was fundamentally responsible for me ending up being the cover guy.”

Kiss commissioned Kelly to create the art work for his or her 1976 album Destroyer. He was given a primary idea and requested to supply a picture inside 30 days. Luckily, his expertise within the journal trade ready him for tight deadlines.

“Warren was publishing magazines every few weeks, so the turnaround [for covers] had to be very quick,” he defined. “You had to come up with a concept, paint it, deliver it, and then move on to the next. When Kiss came along, I was ready.”

Despite his willingness, Kelly’s first portray was rejected by the band’s label. “They thought it was too violent,” he remembers. “It was 1975 and they didn’t want to start such a big project with such a negative cover. I thought my career was over. That was one of the hardest hits I’ve ever received.”

Instead of ending his profession, Kelly was given the prospect to revise his portray. The outcome grew to become Destroyer’s now iconic art work.

The recognition of this album cowl prompted many extra rockers to enlist Kelly’s companies. Rainbow had Kelly do the art work for 1976’s Rising; Kiss introduced the artist again to color the quilt artwork for 1977’s Love Gun; Manowar used Kelly on six albums between 1987 and 2007; Coheed and Cambria included an unique Kelly monitor on their 2007 LP No World for Tomorrow; and Kelly reunited with former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley in 2014 for his solo album Space Invader.

Outside of rock, Kelly stayed regular for many years, creating his distinctive, fantasy-inspired imagery for all the pieces from ebook covers to toy packaging.

“What I want to do is paint things that people like to look at,” the artist informed The Knoxville Mercury in 2017. I’ll attempt to make it look actually good.”

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