Rich Simmons is an English artist with a graffiti background whose style draws directly on pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, and frequently features images that look like they were pulled directly from the pages of comic books. His position in the art world blurs lines between popular culture, street art, and the art world proper.
While Crystal Bridges typically focuses on American artists, Simmons’ focus on the distinctly American character Superman made him a perfect inclusion in Men of Steel, Women of Wonder, which was the artist’s first inclusion in a museum exhibition.
This week, Simmons is here in Northwest Arkansas to paint a mural for the city of Rogers.
As the city of Rogers begins the new redesign of Frisco Park and looks ahead to more opportunities to incorporate public art into the downtown area, the wide appeal of Simmons’ aesthetic is an exciting way to introduce city residents to the power of public art. The old Ice House building already has a prominent sightline within the downtown area and will take on even more prominence as a backdrop for the park. The city sees Simmons’ mural as a strong bookend for Railyard Park.
While Simmons has created many murals in London, where he lives, the Ice House mural will be the largest mural he has ever completed at 50 ft tall. The mural will pay homage to Leonardo Da Vinci, whom Simmons admires, on his 500th birthday while combining the comic book aesthetic of Roy Lichtenstein. The photo above is a rendering of the mural to be completed.
Simmons will be painting in downtown Rogers from April 7-16, 2019. During this week, Crystal Bridges will offer a couple of opportunities for the public to hear from the artist and learn more about his work.
Don’t miss your opportunity to catch this exciting contemporary artist while he’s in town!
Thursday, April 11, 1 to 2 pm
Join artist Rich Simmons for a conversation on his artworks Between the Capes and Chrome Reflections, featured in the exhibition Men of Steel, Women of Wonder.
Saturday, April 13, 3 to 3:30 pm
Join us to learn more about Rich, his process, and his passion for art, and stick around after for a Q&A with the artist. This event is free and open to the public.