"As a little kid, I used to illustrate the walls of my bedroom — against my parents’ wishes, the artist explains. "I climbed up into the closet and actually used crayons on the ceiling." Thus is how John Simpkins began to express himself through art Follow-ing formal art studies at Napa College and with the renowned Earl Thollander, Simpkins later explored the museums of the U.S. and Europe for further inspiration. He sought to eliminate any remnant of academia and "let the child come out," he explained. "I discovered that American primitive art appealed to me. It gave me a warm feeling so I began to experiment with that." Simpkins’ strong, bold and graphic style is deceptively simple. His paintings please and uplift with a single glance but then unfold with layers of meaning. The artist explains, "My work evolves slowly and intuitively from the heart." Almost always, Simpkins includes a "bit of the vinegar of life" along with happy symbols and motifs such as hearts, checkerboards, cats, gardens, etc. Simpkins painting style is equally "layered." His use of paint and color is subtly complex and often includes the use of gold leaf. For years his art was unseen outside of a few, select, private collections, but once viewed his paintings are not forgotten, so word eventually reached galleries, museums and publishers. His creations have now been exhibited from America to England and published in a variety of books and magazines.
The heart shape is so simple and elegant. This full-shaped heart is symbolic of love. There are different kinds of love for all the people in your life - your mother, father, brothers, sisters, friends, your lover - yet it all comes under the same word: love. The checkerboard gives the connotation of change, differences and all the interlocking aspects of life. The flowers can be seen as life and growth. The birds make noises that are joyful. The rainbow is for hope and the faces are just funny - they set a tone of laughter and happiness. The title tells it all.
John Simpkins’ strong, bold graphic style is deceptively simple yet his use of paint and color is subtly complex. He recently completed a twenty-year painting project called "The Flood," a triptych whose central metaphor is Noah’s Ark. His art is sought by private collectors, galleries, museums and much of it resides today in the George R. Stroemple Collection. His creations have been exhibited around the world.
Move to a ghost town once known as Wild Horse, and frankly, things are going to show up. Meditating in front of a window, waiting for the sun to rise, John Simpkins opened his eyes to find this locally renowned buck calmly starring back through his window at him. Named for John’s Zen instructor, "Deer Edward" is as beautiful and serene an art experience as its contemplative origins.