Benson Simmonds : Soul and Style

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I really enjoyed this interview with Benson Simmonds. Honestly, I enjoy all these interviews! I never cease to learn something and be inspired, not only by the exceptional art, but the people behind the art.

Mr. Simmonds is no exception. His style of abstract art causes room for examination and interpretation and draws further appreciation of each piece, individually, and collectively. And, Mr. Simmonds' contagious positive attitude is appealing. Well, you all know how much I am into hugs and positive thinking, so possibly that is what I sense when I look at the art of Benson Simmonds.

Join with me, in learning about Mr. Simmonds, in his own words...

When did you first decide that you wanted to be an artist?

I never really wanted to be an artist. But, in retrospect, I was an obsessive doodler. Every notebook from 1st grade until my senior year in college was covered.

Doodles and abstract images. I could entertain myself with endless doodles. I got a degree in economics and then ran away to New York to be an actor. While in acting school, I got a tiny apartment in the East village. I remember scouring the neighborhood for something cool to put up in my closet/apartment. I remember bringing these different colored electrical cords I found on the street. I started making a wacky wall art project that covered my entire wall. I guess that was one of my first art pieces. After I finished acting school i started painting these abstract designs on my own t-shirts and soon friends were asking me to make them for them and actually offering me money! Then I started selling my abstract painted t-shirts on the streets of Soho. I started buying drawing pads and drawing everything, including my girlfriend, the cat, the windows, doors...everything!

When I moved to Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) I got this cool New York style apartment. I wanted to have cool art on the walls but didn't have the money to buy art, so I just started painting and I haven't stopped!

What was your first art creation?

My endless doodles. though they never made it to the fridge. Then, when I was 16 and suffering from unrequited love, I convinced my parents to let me buy paint and paint my bedroom walls all these abstract shapes and colors...

What was your first memorable art piece?

My first memorable piece in a gallery was about 10 years ago when one of my large pieces was chosen to be in a group show with a lot of artists who were more experienced and established than me.

I remember walking into the gallery and seeing one of my pieces on a feature wall surrounded by other well-known artists. I was supposed to have two art pieces in the show. I remember walking around the entire gallery looking for my other painting and it was nowhere to be found. I was getting really disappointed when the gallery owner saw me and asked, "What's wrong?" He had this big smile on his face.

Then he said, with a sly grin, "Are you looking for your other painting?"

"Uh, yeah," I said.

He responded with "Check the front window."

I had walked into the gallery so quickly that I had neglected to notice that he had put my painting in the front window of the gallery. >>The "front window!"<< That was a really cool moment for me as an artist!

Please describe "A Day in the Life of Benson Simmonds, Artist Extraordinaire."

My process varies. I tend to paint in waves. I'll stop painting for a few months and focus on acting and filmmaking and then I'll miss painting and start working consistently for a while.

I pray and meditate every morning. I start the day at around 6:00 a.m. and do mediation, and then I pray/meditate with a group and I'm back around 8ish. [After that it is] breakfast and work on a painting or two for a few hours, then off to the gym and back to painting. I'll rework and rework a painting until it tells me it's done and then i'll move on to another piece either on paper or directly on canvas.

When I have a show, my schedule gets crazy. My last show was a year ago and for 2 months prior to the show I was working non-stop most days. It's super stressful but completely exhilarating at the same time. I never play music when I paint. I have to hear the music that's playing in my head to be able to paint. I've responded to some online contests, but I mostly have worked with Nancy Larrew, the gallery owner from my last show, at Blue Five Design in Culver City.

What do you do with your art?

I work with Nancy Larrew of Blue Five Design Gallery [in Culver City]. I've also donated pieces to charities. I need to start selling more online and am looking into that now.

I'm always meeting people and introducing them personally to my work and selling directly when I can. I love sharing my work with people and it's such a kick to see my paintings hanging in galleries, homes, and offices. I've also created a series of cartoon/doodle characters called the SOULBERG family and I'd like to start putting them on t-shirts, etc. ... getting back to my old says of selling t-shirts in Soho.

His style of abstract art causes room for examination and interpretation and draws further appreciation of each piece, individually, and collectively. And, Mr. Simmonds' contagious positive attitude is appealing. Well, you all know how much I am into hugs and positive thinking, so possibly that is what I sense when I look at the art of Benson Simmonds.

What are your plans for the future?

I'm currently showing in a group show at [Ms. Larrew's ] Blue Five Design gallery (see link in below "Connecting" section under "Gallery").

I'd also like to work on a black and white series, to complete a series I started in my solo show last year. Of course I need to continue to add more and more family members to the SOULBERG SERIES. I'd like to get another show together within the next six months. [And, in addition to painting, I like connecting with people.] I'm happy to get friend requests at my personal Facebook (see link in below "Connecting" section under "Facebook Profile").


In the words of Benson Simmonds, from his Twitter Profile, "[I am an] award-winning actor, acting teacher, creator of master your audition, blogger, filmmaker, blessing guy, [and] painter."

Connecting with Benson Simmonds :

Artist Site :masteryouraudition.com
Gallery :bluefivedesign.com/artists/b_simmonds/
FB Profile :facebook.com/benson.simmonds
Twitter :twitter.com/applaudordie
LinkedIn :linkedin.com/in/benson-simmonds-79494a4




4 comments…
  • true love March 12, 2012, 5:19 am

    Awesome piece of art. I like your ideas. It’s very abstract. how can i find love

    Reply
    • Deborah E March 14, 2012, 6:31 am

      Thank you. Mr. Simmonds does have amazing art.

      Reply
  • Debbie March 16, 2012, 2:26 am

    Exquisite! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post! Mr. Simmonds does truly have such exceptional art.

    Reply
    • Deborah E March 29, 2012, 3:43 pm

      Always a joy to share glimpses of truly talented artists’ creativity.

      Reply

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