steven j. simmons - artist

Artist Statement


Many years ago, I dreamt that I was gliding through bright white space while liquid streams of bold colors flowed freely around me.  This dream hit me like a scream, an unquestionable demand that could not be ignored after taking a few decades off to pursue other interests.  Shortly thereafter, I started painting ...again 

As a youngster growing up in a rapidly decaying rust belt city, painting was a very special part of my world.  My next door neighbor would invite me over to use her paint set, but only when I was not misbehaving.  Also, at the age of ten, I was one of only a small handful of inner city elementary school children to receive an invitation to take classes at the Toledo Museum of Art. 


Today, decades later, I still feel like a lucky kid every time I paint.  My boldly colored works reflect my child like fascinations with surfing, water, wind, the cosmos and nature.  I am by nature a bit of a chameleon, which makes me reluctant to describe my work in a singular fashion.  Regardless, “Visionary Artist” is perhaps the most accurate description.  “Visionary art” has been described as “art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself.”  (Source: AmericanVisionaryArt Museum).  

Other than my childhood art classes, I am a self-taught artist.  However, as a life long learner, I am always seeking out new ways to create, often by turning accidents into opportunities.   For example, several years ago my surfboard became damaged from overexposure to the sun.  Given the lack of surf shops in this area, I was forced to repair it on my own, which led to extensive research on surfboard repair.  Ultimately, this “accident” (coupled with the extra materials from the repair experience) led me to an extensive use of fiberglass, foam and epoxy in my recent works. 


Also, as described by my surfing experience and my dream above, my vision is indeed personal and innate.  Like waves, I try to ride new ideas when and if they appear. As a whole, my body of work unfolds as a collection of short stories, poems, experiments, chapters, puns, prayers and other lyrical love letters to life.  Sometimes planned and sometimes spontaneous, my works all must meet one key criteria: they must satisfy my personal, innate sense of bliss before they are worthy of sharing with others.


Thank you very much for visiting my web site. 


Steven J. Simmons (stjsim)

my . artist run website