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