John Simpson Artist Biography
Brighton based artist, John Simpson explores the relationship between the human figure and animal forms in his enchanting artwork. Referencing the world of folk tale and myth, he creates bewitching and imaginative images. John Simpson was born in Gloucestershire in 1975. He studied at the University of Gloucestershire and later at The Cambridge School of Art. He made a major impact with his illustrations for a variety of street wear brands and fashion designers. He is now a highly-collectable British artist based in Brighton. John Simpson's work references the imagery of folk tales and myth, introducing contemporary elements to these classical genres. In particular, he's interested in the ideas of metamorphosis found in Greek mythology and the dream-like sense of folktales. In an interview with Rooms Magazine, Simpson explained, "I use references to folktale or myth to allude to the history of painting and the human relationship with other animals but I don't intend to illustrate the myth, it's just a spark for an idea". Simpson's ability to capture both physical and psychological nature of his subjects can be disquieting and captivating in equal measure. He often explores childhood imagination, instinct and primal feelings. His imagery has been described as "caught somewhere between childhood imagination and adult reasoning". Inspired by the graphic tradition of artists like " Francisco Goya, Edvard Munch and Odilon Redon, drawing is an important element of Simpson's work. His primary medium is Monotype, a process recognised as the most painterly form of printmaking. Drawing and painting in oil based ink, he combines layers to the paper to create his finished images. The layers are produced by painting the link on a glass surface or by drawing on the reverse of the paper whilst it is place on a smooth inked plate. Simpson describes it as "a hybrid between drawing and painting". Commissions have included a contemporary take on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for inclusion in an exhibition with Sir John Tenniel's original wood engravings and Salvador Dali's "Alice" lithographs. His serigraph print "Eagle's Descent" was also chosen as the artwork by the band Snow Patrol for their album "Fallen Empires". John Simpson has exhibited in London, New York and Brazil. His work is held in significant international collections, from Carhaart, Basel to Galleria Choque Cultural, Sao Paulo. In recent years he has shown alongside modern masters such as David Hockney and Andy Warhol, and he was featured alongside Damien Hirst and Sir Peter Blake in Alan Yentobﾒs acclaimed BBC1 art series "Imagine"."John Simpson has a wonderfully fluent and flowing drawing style which lends itself particularly well to his chosen medium, monotypes. His control of this wayward process is remarkable, and this, combined with his sensitive and poetic imagination and his empathy with his subject matter produces powerful and unforgettable images". (Gerald Laing )Read our editorial featuring John Simpson: Top 5 Contemporary Nudes. Art is the New Rock and Roll: The Relationship Between Art and Music.