ARTIST STATEMENT

Simkins studies the spread of misinformation and its effects on human interaction and interpretation.


Working in painting, collage and interactive performance, Simkins explores attitudes towards identity, empathy and the ephemerality of power and self-promotion.


His work attempts to portray ultimate truths, created from the curated and embellished stories we tell each other today. 

PAINTINGS


Simkins' paintings can best be described as Chinese whispers. 

The artist records onto canvas the images that are posted onto his social network feeds. Through the process of painting, day by day in the studio he allows these original images and their original narratives to be mistranslated and reinterpreted. 

The process is not dissimilar to the way we perceive and interpret the people and events that surround us today: Online profiles are self-curated and romanticised, media stories are exaggerated and commercial hyperbole exists everywhere. Our own quick-glance attitude to images means that our interpretations of each other and our stories are created from knowing little of the context in which they were originally set.

Simkins' free use of paint, exemplified by the rapid marks are significant. Mark-making exists as a metaphor for the artist. Each time a mark is made, we have reinterpreted the original story once more.

In the interactive performance Dance and Draw, Simkins shares his process with the public and asks the audience to make their own marks. Just as before, each mark the audience makes becomes a reinterpretation of an original event. Slowly but surely, with a few surprises included, the artist and his audience layer line upon line to create a new narrative.

HEADS


There are numerous ways today, through both old media and new, that society builds it's own interpretations of a person and manages to pigeon-hole them. The Collaged Heads explore the imaginary statuses that society projects onto others. 

Often large in size but created from cut, torn and frayed canvas, the Heads are able to accentuate both the subject’s godliness and fragility at the same time. 

The trial of athlete Oscar Pistorius, whom the artist met and painted in 2011, is an eery reminder of how an individual can go from hero to zero in a matter of days, as well as the role that society plays in advancing both sides of the coin.

With the representation feeling easily disposable, Simkins hands the onus over to the public in his interactive performance Three Heads. The artist asks the public to tear the work apart and then reconstruct it as they so wish. Issues of morality, celebrity and human fragility are all raised. As well as the hypothesis that greatness is ultimately flawed.



Throughout both performances, Simkins is able to place the public within the concept itself by asking his audiences to recreate their own metaphorical actions into physical ones. In studying how our society is becoming more individualistic, Simkins manages to bring people closer together.