How KISS Inspired Anatole Krasnyansky’s Surreal Style

Guitar Anatole Krasnyansky Park West Gallery

Guitar” (2006), Anatole Krasnyansky

Artist Anatole Krasnyansky didn’t interpret the hard rock band KISS as music, but a “message from Hell” that resulted in the birth of a second style.

Following his immigration to the United States from the U.S.S.R. in 1975, Krasnyansky worked as a set designer and background artist for TV and movie studios. In 1981, while working on a special for ABC-TV, Krasnyansky encountered KISS.

KISS is notorious for its iconic face paint, elaborate costumes, and intense rock performances involving pyrotechnics, smoke, and flashing lights. Nothing in Krasnyansky’s classical Eastern European training could prepare him for KISS’ assault on his senses.

“For me it was a culture shock,” Krasnyansky says.

Krasnyansky needed to purge the distress and anger he felt, but found his traditional artistic style based in architecture couldn’t properly convey his feelings. The artist continued searching until he adopted a surreal and Baroque style.

“Rok’n’Roll,” Anatole Krasnyansky

The first painting resulting from this exorcism of emotion was “Rok’n’Roll,” created in the early 1980s. In it, a multi-faced grotesque figure plays horn-like instruments amidst a nightmarish setting. A mask floats ominously in the background above the figure, which Krasnyansky says represents KISS’ god.

“I did the symbol of the god of this scariness,” Krasnyansky says. “It’s empty, there is nothing behind [it]. There is no body, there is no soul.”

With the completion of “Rok’n’Roll,” Krasnyansky made a realization that changed the way he viewed humanity—everyone, including KISS, wear masks. Krasnyansky says depending where we are and who we are with we adapt and put on a mask.

Interlude Anatole Krasnyansky Park West Gallery

Interlude” (2016), Anatole Krasnyansky

With this realization, Krasnyansky explored his new style further, combining the structural aspects of his architectural background with vibrant, visual energy and bright colors. His figures evolved from monstrous beings to playful jesters donning masks with whimsical expressions. For Krasnyansky, what started as a message from Hell became divine inspiration.

“I discovered for myself a new method, a new approach,” Krasnyansky says. “If it becomes important for the art world, then I will thank God for my destiny.”

Anatole Krasnyansky Gateway to the City Park West Gallery

Gateway to the City” (2012), Anatole Krasnyansky

Krasnyansky’s surreal figures retain their musical origins, often depicted with string instruments, horns or accordions. Combined with Krasnyansky’s introduction of texture with handmade paper, the figures practically vibrate off the canvas with life and music.

Never one to forget his roots, Krasnyansky continues to paint in his two distinct styles, even combining them to create colorful figures dancing and performing in grand, arched buildings.

For information on how to collect the artwork of Krasnyansky, contact Park West Gallery at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 or

7 Responses to How KISS Inspired Anatole Krasnyansky’s Surreal Style



  2. Steven Eisen says:

    I am fortunate to have met Mr. Krasnyansky and his wife at a couple of Park West events. I have collected a few of his works including an original selected on the personal recommendation of the artists (he helped me choose between 2 works). He also graciously autographed my “KISS Alive II” album. 🙂

    • parkwestgal says:

      That sounds like a lovely encounter, Steven! We are glad we could help you meet Anatole and ignite a passion for his art.

  3. Bruce Zimmerman says:

    Interesting reading about the influence of KISS

  4. Steve Cline says:

    I have never cared for his “Kiss” work but I love you cityscapes

  5. Nancy Valentin says:

    I love this surrealism of Krasnyansky! It is amazingly superb!

  6. Stewart Ferrier says:

    Thank you so much for this enlightening information on this artist . We have five of his works .Rok and Roll is absolutely fantastic .

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • How Marc Chagall Came to Illustrate One of the Greatest Love Stories of...

    Bob Dylan once said that “passion is a young man’s game,” but over 60 years ago, at the age of 55, famed artist Marc Chagall illustrated one of the ...
    Read More
  • Why We Love Buying Art on Cruise Ships: Confessions of an Art Enthusiast...

    After entering their first cruise ship art auction, this couple has never looked back.Don and Tina Tritton almost missed the boat. While their ship was docked in Ketchikan during a ...
    Read More
  • The Story Behind Anatoly Metlan’s Flamenco Dancers

    Grace, poise, energy—these are the qualities one finds in skilled dancers around the world, and are almost impossible to capture in a work of art.Almost.While historically known for his beautiful ...
    Read More
  • Collect Unique Romero Britto Artwork During Our Limited-Time Sale

    Chances are you’ve seen Romero Britto’s instantly recognizable style during your travels, but odds are you’ve never seen this many unique Britto paintings in one place.Park West Gallery just ...
    Read More
  • Enjoy Art Auctions Aboard the World’s Largest Cruise Ship: Symphony of the Seas

    If you’re a fan of Royal Caribbean art auctions, something big is on the horizon.This April marks the maiden voyage of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Symphony of the ...
    Read More
  • Daniel Wall Follows His Heart in His New Spring Collection

    Spring is that special time when flowers bloom and love is in the air, and artist Daniel Wall is one of the rare artists who can uniquely capture the ...
    Read More
  • Dominic Pangborn to Showcase Art at 2018 Winter Paralympics

    Not long after enjoying the Olympics in his native country of South Korea, artist Dominic Pangborn received an unexpected phone call from 2018 Paralympics officials.“They had talked about doing ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Lucy Orbell

    Many Park West collectors develop lasting friendships with our art teams, underscoring our 49-year reputation of connecting people from all walks of life with artwork they love.Here’s a chance to ...
    Read More
  • Music Legend Gary Puckett Transforms Park West VIP Events Into Concerts to Remember

    When you attend a Park West auction, you never know who you’re going to meet. You might meet fellow art lovers, your favorite artist, or—if you’re lucky—you might meet a ...
    Read More
  • The Surrealistic Art of Peter Max: How His Style Made Him an Art...

    Peter Max is ...
    Read More
  • Park West and Scott Jacobs Help Raise Funds for Young Musicians

    When Park West Gallery teams up with its artists for a good cause, they make great music together.Park West Gallery helped raise $7,000 for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival’s music ...
    Read More
  • 5 Facts You May Not Know About Yaacov Agam

    Israeli artist Yaacov Agam is a groundbreaking pioneer of the kinetic art movement. As such, art lovers around the world are familiar with his transformative artwork and art installations ...
    Read More