Interview with Scott Simons


Neoteric Art: Give us some background information on yourself.

Scott Simons: I was born in Iowa and grew up in Michigan. I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Marketing and moved to Chicago where I got my MBA at Loyola. I moved to NYC in 1991 and joined corporate America. I consider myself a self taught artist and find my business background very useful in navigating the business of fine art. I’ve been back in Chicago for ten years and a resident of the Cornelia Arts Building for the past six.

NA: Discuss your work/thought process when starting a new piece.

Picture 1SS: I don’t plan anything out in the form of a sketch. I certainly have an idea and color scheme in my head as to what direction I want a painting to go but my pieces tend to evolve as I go. If I’m using found objects I move them around like pieces of a puzzle until they feel at home. Sometimes they stay put and other times they are moved or removed all together. Occasionally a work will end up in the dumpster but I’ll work it to death before I go that route.

NA: You use found objects in most of your work. Please elaborate?

SS: I like items that have a history and a weathered look to them. It’s interesting to imagine where they’ve been and what they’ve been through. A few years ago I started salvaging wood, metal, etc. out of dumpsters around Chicago and I saw a lot of character in these scraps of garbage. Then friends started dropping off stuff they found that they thought I could incorporate into my work. Since I already used wood panels as my painting surface it was easy to attach found objects and it just took off from there. It’s a fun way to work and cuts down on expensive art supplies. I’m using fewer found objects now but I still like to sneak a scrap of something in here and there.

NA: Discuss your current series “Chairs”.

Picture 2SS: I’ve always been an abstract artist and decided I wanted to try my hand at painting something that exists in every day life. I like the interesting shapes and architectural qualities of chairs but decided not to paint the entire chair so that the overall work still had an abstract feel to it. Although I’m happy with the finished product, I found it very challenging and tedious….something I may not try again for a while. But it gave me a new found respect for representational artists. Now I’m working on a new series of construction pieces.

NA: What are some of the things you do to market your work?

SS: I have a website where I post pictures of my work and news about where my work can be seen. I think it’s important to keep your website current if you’re using this as a marketing tool. I’ve had many people attend a show and several months later check my website, see something new they like, and contact me to purchase it. I also send postcards and emails out when I have a showing.

NA: Who or what has been the biggest influence on your work?

SS: I get inspired by many artists, both famous and not. Jasper Johns is one of my favorites. I also get great ideas from the pages of magazines and the internet. A single picture can spark an idea in my head that can branch off in many directions. If you look at my work over time you’ll see many different styles almost to the point where it looks like they were created by different artists. My influences change often and I enjoy experimenting to find out where my weaknesses lie and to ward off boredom but overall I think my work has a style unique to me.

Picture 3

NA: Pertaining to your art career, where do you see yourself in 10 years?

SS: I’ll actually be happy if I enjoy going to my studio as much as I do now. Creating the work and seeing how people react to it is what gets me going. My goal each year is to put more effort into marketing my work but the lack of time always seems to be a factor. I’m doing better this year than in years past. If I could work my way into a reputable gallery in the coming years I would consider that a great accomplishment.