Monday, April 19, 2010

Interview with Erika Iris Simmons

q) Well, first of all please tell us a little about yourself.

a)My name is Erika Iris Simmons, I'm 26 and I live in Atlanta, Georgia USA. I work mostly with used or donated materials. Kind of a "found art" vibe. I like to take things that are old or going to waste, then turn them into something new.

q) Had you always planned on being an artist [or had you other hopes]?

a)I really had no interest in being an artist growing up; my mom was a painter and fashion designer so I think that I rebelled and wanted to be a scientist. It wasn't until after university that I started to really experiment with art.

q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?

a)My favorite medium is film. I like to take a million little pieces of it and put it together like a jigsaw puzzle. Its tedious, but when its done the artwork really sparkles. I also enjoy all the paper collage work.

q) How would you describe your style?

a)intricate and imaginative

q) Do you go through any certain processes while trying to produce your work?

a)I usually get something from goodwill, like the cassette tapes, and set them on top of a blank canvas near my door. Everyday as I come and go I glance at the pile, but don't really think too hard about it. An idea always comes at the most unexpected time. Voila!

q) What are you working on at present?

a)Right now I am finishing a huge cassette tape portrait for a show at Peninsula Art School in April. I'm also working on a large photo-composite of Nelson Mandela made entirely from pictures related to his struggles for civil rights.

q) What about recent sources of inspirations?

a)Right now I'm thinking about a new medium... strings and wires. I would love to do a portrait from guitar strings or sheet music. Could go in many directions: Nirvana, Beethoven, or something more abstract, like an orchestra.

q) What are some of your obsessions?

a)I am obsessed with the idea of the mind/body dilemma. How something can be one thing when you look closely at it; then turn into something else from far away. Like you zoom in on a brain and it just looks like a bunch of cells, zoom out and you're dealing with a conscious being. Hence the "Ghost in the Machine."

q) Which galleries have you shown at and which galleries would you like to show at?

a)I've had pieces in small shows in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and London, but my work is on more permanent display through Ripley's Believe It or Not! museums in London, San Francisco, Niagara Falls, and Australia. I create most of my work on a commission basis and sell it directly through my website.

This year I will be showing at the:

Aqualounge in Beverly Hills February 25

Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek WI April 16 - July 10

Arizona Museum for Youth April 22 - July 3

I will attend the openings of each of these and would love for anyone interested to come say hi!

q) If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?

a)My website ( has a contact form, or they can email me at I welcome all questions and comments. I'm always up for collaborating with cool people on cool projects.

q) Do you have any suggestions or advice for artists that are just starting out?

a)If you are seriously pursuing art, nothing beats practice. For my first two years, I vowed to work on a piece of art everyday. It doesn't matter what you are doing or how it looks, the most important thing is to be in the habit and not give up.

q) Who are your favorite artists?

a)My favorite artist is Aleksander Vrubel, a Russian symbolist painter. The modern artists that I have inspired me most have been Ken Knowlton and Vik Muniz.

q) What books are on your nightstand?

a)GEB by Douglas Hofstadter, Master and Margarita by Bulgakov and a Trigonometry textbook

q) To what weaknesses are you most indulgent?

a)I enjoy all the vices life has to offer.. haha

q)….your contacts…

a) or Feel free to contact me for any reason, even if you want tips on how to replicate some of the projects on my site... I'm happy to help!