"As a little kid, I used to illustrate the walls
of my bedroom against my parents wishes, the artist
explains. "I climbed up into the closet and actually used
crayons on the ceiling." Thus is how John Simpkins began
to express himself through art Follow-ing formal art studies
at Napa College and with the renowned Earl Thollander, Simpkins
later explored the museums of the U.S. and Europe for further
He sought to eliminate any remnant of academia and "let
the child come out," he explained. "I discovered
that American primitive art appealed to me. It gave me a warm
feeling so I began to experiment with that." Simpkins
strong, bold and graphic style is deceptively simple. His
paintings please and uplift with a single glance but then
unfold with layers of meaning. The artist explains, "My
work evolves slowly and intuitively from the heart."
Almost always, Simpkins includes a "bit of the vinegar
of life" along with happy symbols and motifs such as
hearts, checkerboards, cats, gardens, etc.
Simpkins painting style is equally "layered." His
use of paint and color is subtly complex and often includes
the use of gold leaf.
For years his art was unseen outside of a few, select, private
collections, but once viewed his paintings are not forgotten,
so word eventually reached galleries, museums and publishers.
His creations have now been exhibited from America to England
and published in a variety of books and magazines.