Starchild at mirror

The oil painting ”Starchild at mirror” – a tribute to Paul Stanley (Kiss) and Norman Rockwell

Starchild at mirror – a tribute to Paul Stanley and Norman Rockwell

For me, the idea of ​​concretizing the painting ”Starchild at mirror” has meant going that extra mile. Already during my time in high school, I started a tribute painting to Kiss (Paul Stanley). But that project was not completed because my artistic progress caught up too quickly. In other words, it was not a good idea to complete that painting, because it would take too much effort to redo. Since then, I have occasionally pondered of creating a new painting. Until I read Paul Stanley’s autobiography ” Face the music ”. Specifically when I read the line ” I wish my life was like a painting of Norman Rockwell ”. There and then the seed was sown to create Starchild at mirror. A fusion of Stanley, Rockwell and Jensen!

I was pleasantly surprised that Paul mentioned Rockwell’s paintings. Since I see Norman Rockwell as an icon both as an artist / illustrator and narrator, it was extra fun that Paul also felt something extra for Rockwell’s paintings. Although Paul probably did not refer to paintings like  ”Girl at mirror”. For example I think he probably thought of paintings like ”Thanksgiving”, which is more of a happy perfect life”.


For me, Kiss became an inspiration both musically and as a concept at a very young age, and Norman Rockwell also became an artistic inspiration. In fact, long before I knew the name of the artist behind the amazing paintings I admired. In addition, I can still see many of his paintings with the same admiration. One of the favorites has been Girl at mirror , whose original I also saw at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge Massachusetts . If you look at that painting, you can see the connections to what I have created.

Before the painting

My first thoughts about my painting ”Starchild at mirror” were of course the details of the content and the way I would paint. The first thing I thought was to paint very similar to Rockwell’s way, but changed quickly for several reasons. One reason for not painting like Rockwell, is because I as an artist do not paint like him in general. And because my way is strong enough to be able to stand on my own. I also remember that Paul at one point mentioned the ”ultimate compliment” when musicians who do not play in the style of Kiss at all but who are still inspired by them.

”Walking the extra mile”

Sometimes certain challenges require an extra gear to be able to squeeze out the best of one’s ability. Starchild at mirror is one of these occasions, which also includes creating the picturframe. This type of painting challenge suits me well, although I also try to let go of meticulous accuracy. However, I thought it fit well with all the details I wanted to reproduce in this motif.

When it comes to the content of my painting based on Rockwell’s ” Girl at mirror ”, I  renewed it to rhyme better with me and ”Starchild”. Furthermore, it also rhymes better with Kiss not least. Unlike the girl’s little stool in Girl at mirror , I chose an old coffin for the boy. The idea of the coffin was to show his (my) absolute favorite Kiss songs carved in as cool detail. I could easily have added a lot more, but filtered harder to avoid extra smudge. The list of those songs can be found further down the page.

Instead of a ”Hollywood magazine”, ”Starchild” has a ”kiss magazine” and here I chose some favourite pictures from the early era. Some of the pictures are taken by Barry Levine , who I think shot the best pictures of Kiss. Just like the carved songs on the coffin, I chose the albums I think contain most of Kiss goodies. These are Creatures of the night, Kiss Alive 2, Destroyer, Love gun and ”Kiss” . Instead of leaning the mirror against a chair, I chose Marshall amplifiers. Finally, I have replaced a ”doll” that is in Rockwell’s painting with the huge book ”Kisstory”. As a parenthesis can be mentioned the boy’s way too big T-shirt with ”Kiss alive 2 motif” (he has snatched it from an older sibling of course).

The framing

When it comes to the question of framing or not, I belong to those who think framing is obvious. Great framing makes the painting a complete work of art, if it matches the painting well. For this reason I created the frame myself to match the painting as well as possible. Most of the framework project has involved a systematic way of crushing and cutting mirror pieces. These crushed pieces and shards have since been super-glued with precision like a jigsaw puzzle. You see the details in the innermost part of the frame – the edging closest to the painting.

The crushed mirror part has an obvious connection to the motif in the painting but also a more sought-after connection to one of Paul’s guitars. In this case I’m thinking of the Ibanez PS 10 with ”Broken mirror”. I have given the mirror pieces a new finish with matching texture and coloring against the rest of the frame and painting, which is then clear coated twice. The inner edges has also been given a black pigmented cement joint, partly to protect against sharp shards.  Also to provide a more harmonious transition from the frame to the painting. Moreover, the frame itself has been primed in a dozen different layers and then a couple of layers of coloring / patina. Of course with great regard to matching the colors of the painting, which I feel happy with.

Me & Kiss

My relationship with Kiss as a band began around the album Creatures Of The Night, ie 1982 – I was 6 years old. That is 38 years ago from today’s date. I had met some guys in their early teens who introduced me to Kiss, and on a few occasions I was at their home. Both had wallpapered every millimeter of their rooms, including the ceiling with Kiss posters. When I walked into these rooms and saw Kiss’ theatrical photos I was completely mesmerized! Especially those colorful photos taken by Barry Levine in their respective costumes!  Gene Simmons as a fire-breathing ”Dragon”, Paul Stanley as ”Starchild”, Ace Frehley as ”Spaceman” and Peter Criss as ”Catman” .


As for many Kiss fans, the band is very much about an experience of nostalgia. Ever since the ”reunion” in 1996 when Peter Criss and Ace Frehley got back, the band has built their tours around nostalgia. 1996 was also the first time I got the chance to see them live. Now I have seen them many times since then and regardless of their ability to perform nowadays, my sense of nostalgia will live on.

For me, Kiss is a musically lovely attitude in an artistic theatrical form, which perhaps understandably in my case attracted me more than just musically. Although there is incredibly good music in all kinds of genres that also captured me, Kiss has kept a given place with me. The one of all the members of the band I sympathize with the most is Paul, which you may have already guessed. Among Kiss fans, it looks very divided about who they consider to be ”favorite”. Fortunately we all sync a little differently.

My first cassette, Vinyl, and CD

Not only was the visual impression of the band maximized, and it did not get any easier when I also heard the music. It was the coolest music I’ve ever heard before, and I could hardly like anything other than Kiss for many years. My first cassette was Kiss – Best of solo albums, and my first vinyl was Kiss – Destroyer. The first CD was Kiss Alive 2 ( of course I already had everything on vinyl). During the 80’s there were many new bands that were also good, but Kiss hung on, and so it has been ever since, more or less.

Me & Norman Rockwell

Since ” Starchild at mirror ” also is a tribute to Norman Rockwell, I want to write some words about this artistic icon. I discovered Rockwell much later than Kiss. Not knowing the name of the artist behind the paintings I have seen and been so fascinated by. Typical motifs of Rockwell are scenarios and insights about life that can be very narrative and apt, with colorful characters and content. In addition to his ability to tell stories in his paintings, he was also extremely competent as an artist/illustrator. This is mainly evident from his work between the 1940s and 60s. His ability to capture characters and strengthen them and also excel in terms of painting. When Rockwell himself was asked who’s the most skilled artist ever, he mentions Rembrandt. Maybe he thought like me that it’s about a few of his self-portraits.

Rockwell’s big suit to grow in

As with most of what requires some form of effort to develop skills, it usually leads to the fact that you can probably ”see through” or see shortcomings in what other ”like-minded” people have created. Much of the art I have admired before I have grown out of, but Mr Rockwell holds a steady admiration. It should also be added that I visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge Massachusetts which was also an easy extraterrestrial experience. Prints in books of the paintings I have seen the originals of are pale copies, which time and time again speak to see the paintings live.


Girl at mirror

One of my favorite paintings with Rockwell is ”Girl at mirror” (created in 1954), which I also saw the original of in Massachusetts. The painted details on the original are fantastic. The details to be seen on the original do not appear in any reproduced form. For example if you look closely on the girls back, there are lots of different colors, that viewed from a distance reflect the girl’s skin tone so elegantly.

The motif shows a young girl placing a mirror in front of a chair to look at herself, if she is beautiful enough. She has a magazine of beautiful Hollywood stars in her lap that shows why she was so anxious to reflect as she did. You can see her hair and make-up details on the floor and how she then looks in the mirror expressively.

The carved songs on the coffin in the painting…

Before I decided which songs to choose, I went through all the albums. I listened especially to the songs I first thought to add to the coffin. It would have been easy to add many more, but then the selection would be less important. I did not include one of the classic songs, God of thunder, which probably shocks many. Sure, it’s powerful and good, but then I come to that solo… However, I added a few songs from Paul’s solo album because this tribute is mostly to him. By the way, have you heard Paul Stanleys version of God of thunder? If not find it and listen to it! My very personal filtering resulted in the following choice of songs:

Deuce  •  Strutter  •  100,000 years  •  Wathin’ You  •  C’mon And Love Me 
Anything For My Baby  •  Detroit Rock City  •  I want you  •  Take me – live, You wanted the best…
Hard Luck Woman  •  Love Gun  •  I stole your love  •  I was made for loving you  •  2000 Man
Creatures Of The Night • Keep Me Comin’  •  Danger  •  I Still love you  •  I’m a legend tonight  •  Partners in crime
Lick it up  •  A million to one  •  I’ve had enough  •  Heavens On Fire  •  Thrills in the night  •  Who Wants To Be Lonely 
 Reason to live  •  Forever  •  Every Time I Look At You  •  Master & Slave  •  I will be there  •  Live to win  •  where angels dare

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Art & amp; Passion, Painting & amp; Photography – it mostly sums up what Garip Jensen is about. Via this page you can read a little more about painting and photography , and when I create a painting of about 500 sqm . You can also read about my 13 years in the karate national team , with videos from karate competitions  worldwide. A list of a selection of merits is also available.