Rich Simmons talks to EAST END PRINTS
EEP: Why do you use icons in your work?
RS: I want my work to form an instant connection with people and using iconic people and imagery allows people to relate to it straight away. The reactions are the best part about the artwork and i love to see the contrast of people finding my work funny or shocking or sad or thought provoking. Its like a magician using a deck of cards to do a trick; everyone knows the cards as we have played with them all our lives so to see someone do something different with them and shock people is something i love to see. I wanted to do something similar with my work and get those reactions in a different way.
EEP: How do you feel about street art becoming a saleable item such as an edition?
RS: I don't think a piece of art has to be labelled as street art or anything like that. Yes i use the street as a medium to get my work out there as people will see it straight away and i can see the reactions a piece gets but it is more about the message of a piece. The vehicle i chose to share that work may change from a wall to a canvas or a print but its the message i want to get out there. variety makes things more interesting for an artist so if we have a lot of options for how to share our ideas and work then it keeps the creativity levels up and opens new challenges and platforms to get the work out there.
EEP: Do you think kids have enough to say about the world to spray walls? Does it matter?
RS: It all depends on what message an artist wants to convey on a wall. Some artists are very very clever individuals and can use the public arena of walls to share their ideas and messages as it gives them a voice and can force people to see different points of view. Some artists use this platform in smarter ways than others but it depends if they have a message they want to share or whether they just want to get their name up. without idiots in the world, the genius' don't seem as clever. Luckily in every walk of society and especially in art, we have both ends of that spectrum.
EEP: Your new piece featuring Bin Laden - Do you really think this is the end or do you think its just another personification of evil invented by the great U S of A?
RS: I think Bin Laden was just another chapter in the book of evil. There will always be new characters invented or bought to public attention for us to battle. Its an age old story of people needing an enemy to fight so we understand the importance of morality and good conquering evil that has existed since human civilisation first came to be. whether its in the films, the comic books, religion or real life, the need for an enemy will always exist and Bin Laden was the latest real life bad guy to be defeated but someone new will rise up and take his place.
EEP: Do you consider yourself a political person?
RS: I don't profess to understand politics in great detail and its not something that really excites my imagination. I like people, i like the stories we tell and the reactions we have and thats what inspires me. I want to create artwork that tests peoples emotional responses and work that tells a story or is a social commentary. Im still only 25 so politics might be something that takes more of an interest in the future but right now i'm still learning about what inspires me and makes me laugh and im enjoying that journey of self discovery and documenting it through the art i create.
EEP: Why do you want people to buy your art?
RS: If people like my work or it draws a reaction then I'm happy for them to buy a piece so they can show it to new people and hopefully inspire people in their circle of friends. I am all about inspiring people in different ways and creating artwork and having the opportunity to sell it allows me to give back to the art community in other ways by giving workshops, going to schools and sharing my passion with young people and thats what i'm passionate about. the ability to sell my work to fund my passion is an amazing opportunity and i hope it continues for a long time and i get to keep running my Art Is The Cure organisation.
EEP: How does it feel to be in a top London Gallery show with Opera?
RS:Opera Gallery have given me an amazing platform to share my work in and im incredibly grateful for their belief in me. I've wanted to make art all my life and now i have a major gallery backing me and allowing me to keep living my dream. The bigger the platform i have to share my work, the more people i can hopefully tell my story about Art Is The Cure to and inspire more people through art. I know i'm very lucky to have this opportunity and i'm working incredibly hard to justify it and prove them right in the long run.
EEP:You say art has saved your life- do you think this is more about creativity? Do you think everyone needs to be and should be creative?
RS: I think everyone has the ability to be creative and i try to inspire people that art and creativity can be used as a form of therapy as well. That is what AITC is all about, going into schools and running workshops and educating people about how art therapy can work and how they can use their imaginations and creative releases in new ways and see art differently. It wont work with everyone and i know that but for the people who are open to the idea of dealing with problems by channeling their creativity in a positive way will see amazing results. it has and will continue to change peoples lives and thats what keeps me motivated to keep this movement growing and finding new ways to inspire people.
THE END. Now buy the prints!
THE END. Now buy the prints!