Jeff Simp­son

This con­cept artist likes to break art’s long-es­tab­lished rules…

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With a mother who worked as an art teacher and a cre­ative fa­ther, Jeff Simp­son has al­ways felt he was born into the life of an artist, “I grew up as the ‘art kid’ as far back as I re­mem­ber. I never re­ally ques­tioned it!”

While Jeff earns a liv­ing as a con­cept artist, it’s his per­sonal paint­ings that catch the eye. His por­traits break the rules: they’re a col­li­sion of colour and shapes that merge forms and be­come an ex­pres­sion of some­thing broader.

Jeff says he hasn’t worked on hon­ing his style. “I think peo­ple have as­so­ci­ated me with hav­ing a style sim­ply be­cause I paint what I like to paint,” he says. “I like cer­tain colours, cer­tain shapes, cer­tain lev­els of de­tail… I feel as though I’ve been blessed with a brain that has the abil­ity to be in­ter­ested in some­thing as sim­ple and ab­stract as a shape or a tex­ture, and just ob­sess over it.”

When paint­ing, Jeff ad­mits his process is a mess, and spends far too much time tin­ker­ing with colour ad­just­ments and minute de­tails many peo­ple won’t no­tice. “I don’t think I’ve ever made an im­age that looked ex­actly the way I wanted it to in my head,” he says. “I’ll usu­ally start ren­der­ing some­thing rel­a­tively re­al­is­ti­cally, then tear it apart. I’ll crop, im­port, cut, flip and in­vert my paint­ings dozens of times be­fore I fi­nally get bored of it and call it a day. This is how I like to work; when I’m paint­ing on my own time I like to have no di­rec­tion at all. Be­cause mis­takes and happy ac­ci­dents are part of my process, it’s re­ally hard to be fast or con­sis­tent.”

De­spite his chaotic work­flow, Jeff’s art is ad­mired by the online com­mu­nity, and it’s some­thing he’s al­ways loved. “Ev­ery­one seems to know ev­ery­one now thanks to so­cial media – it’s hard not to feel a part of the com­mu­nity,” he says. “There are so many more artists now show­ing their work, it’s ac­tu­ally re­ally in­tim­i­dat­ing and I’m very glad to have started out in the smaller, more closely knit groups from five or ten years ago.”

www.jeff­simp­sonkh.tum­blr.com

Artist tip

study art’s progress

“It’s all good to learn the core skills and tech­niques, but look­ing at work that breaks the rules is also im­por­tant. Learn the history of art, of paint­ing… see where it’s gone, why it changed, and where it’s go­ing.”

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