'BE GLAD AND REJOICE' By George Simmons
Born in Trinidad- West Indies, I grew up in Barbados, Melrose MA, Cortland NY, and Brighton, a suburb of Rochester NY. I attended Hampton Institute, (now Hampton University) where I studied marketing, and photography / art with Robert Rodeck. (Although I concentrated on photography, Mr. Rodeck introduced me to abstract expressionism- especially the works of Willem de Kooning. I was hooked and immediately started to make my own marks in that genre). After College I started a position as darkroom technician and then photographer, with the New York State Assembly.
In Albany I became involved with the fine art photography community, participating in several juried, invitational, group, and a couple solo shows. All the while, however, in addition to making photographs, I continued to draw and paint. After seven years at the Assembly I grew restless and in an effort to concentrate on my art, moved to New York City to participate in a seminar styled art school called The Studio Semester Program through The Empire State College.
This program afforded me an opportunity to meet and share my work with established artist including: Al Loving, Jamie Dalglish, and Eric Fischl. I supported myself in NYC assisting freelance photographers, moving fine art, and as a photographer. After four years in New York, I moved to Madison WI and was soon accepted to study for an MFA in Studio Art.
At UW- Madison I was free to work in a variety of media: painting, photography, drawing, print making, sculpture and performance. My graduate education taught how to read a work of art. I learned how messages are conveyed through ones choice of medium and specific materials used in the making of art. After graduation I returned to Albany to work again with the State Assembly Photography Department, where I am now Deputy Director.
Although I still make photographs, both professionally/commercially and as fine art, I have in the last few years been concentrating on making Ink and Carbon Black Monotypes.
ARTISTS STATEMENT: Ideas for imagery come from anything I see; kids art work on a friends refrigerator; photographs and illustrations in print media and catalogs; work in fine art galleries and from art history; building facades and graffiti; decaying billboards; and my own or anyone elses doodlings. However,
I also spontaneously and automatically draw directly on the carbon paper.
Images can also come from dreams, scientific theories and concepts,
observing how a flock of birds fly and even phrases overheard in public.
All that is fodder that directs my hand to draw, paint, scratch, cut and paste carbon paper. I have no agenda and the final drawing or print is usually a mystery to me, but I tend to work in a series. If my work is about something, it is about a something that was not preconceived. Its about something that is discovered only after completion. What I really enjoy is having a viewer tell me what they see in my work.