Ken Kelly, one of the most successful fantasy artists who is responsible for many album covers for rock bands such as KISS, RAINBOW and MANOWAR, has died at the age of 76.
Kelly's passing was confirmed earlier today by his friend Danny Stanton, president and founder of Coallier Entertainment. Stanton wrote simply: "RIP KEN KELLY. You will always be a legend in the KISS world. Such a great guy, artist, friend."
Over Kelly's 50-plus-year career, he has focused in particular on paintings in the sword and sorcery and heroic fantasy subgenres.
Early in his career, he was able to study the paintings of Frank Frazetta in the latter's studio, but Frazetta never let out his trade secrets. In the early 1970s, he did a couple of cover paintings for Castle Of Frankenstein magazine. Throughout the 1970s, he was one of the foremost cover artists on Warren Publishing's Creepy and Eerie magazines.
Kelly has depicted Conan The Barbarian and Tarzan while also creating the artwork for KISS's "Destroyer" and "Love Gun", RAINBOW's "Rising", several albums from MANOWAR, and Ace Frehley's "Space Invader" record.
His work often portrayed exotic, enchanted locales and primal battlefields. He developed the artwork for COHEED AND CAMBRIA's album "Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow", and a painting of his was used as the cover art for ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY's 2007 release "Open Fire". In 2012, one of Kelly's paintings was used for the cover of ELECTRIC MAGMA's 12-inch vinyl release "Canadian Samurai II".
Kelly has been a guest at the Kiss By Monster Mini Golf course in Las Vegas, Nevada, doing autograph signings of prints for the classic KISS albums he has drawn cover artwork for.
RIP KEN KELLY. You will always be a legend in the KISS world. Such a great guy, artist, friend.
Posted by Danny Stanton on Friday, June 3, 2022
Ken Kelly the artist that painted Burning Starr's last 3 album covers has passed away, He was a great artist and helped...
Posted by Jack Starr on Friday, June 3, 2022
Sad news this morning KISS Army: Legendary fantasy artist Ken Kelly (Destroyer, Love Gun, Space Invader) has passed away aged 76.
Posted by Australian KISS ARMY on Friday, June 3, 2022
June 2, 2022
I’m getting reports from multiple places that artist Ken Kelly passed away yesterday. He was 76 and drew...
Posted by The Rock Experience with Mike Brunn on Friday, June 3, 2022
When a picture is worth a thousand words.
**************** KEN KELLY *************
Posted by Bill Aucoin on Friday, June 3, 2022
The amazingly talented artist Ken kelly passed away😔
If it wasnt for him there would be no...
Posted by Cece Spaulding on Friday, June 3, 2022
Some very sad personal news and sad news for the fantasy art world. My friend Ken Kelly passed away. I did a lot of work...
Posted by Mark Aronowitz on Friday, June 3, 2022