Sacramento Art History Consortium’s Featured Artist: Gerry GOS Simpson
by Bree Garcia
Gerry moved to the Sacramento region back in 1999 after his years of fashion and stylist work landed him a position as the visual merchandising manager for Nordstrom. Where as in other cities that he lived he had creative outlet such as entertainment and fashion, here in Sacramento he was looking to fill an empty space, and it was out of that void that he became an artist. Although he knew nothing about the art scene, or being an artist he began creating and showing his works. While he still humbly refers to himself as an “Up and Coming” artist, his work has been in numerous solo and group shows throughout the region.
SAHC: Can you give us a brief description of your creative process? What is your preferred medium and style?
GOS: Style… I guess that is a personal thing, I usually tell my students the easiest way to keep from going out of style is to create your own. I am a self taught artist & self taught photographer so basically I run with what I feel. I never had no one who taught me to “do it right”. I did take art through elementary school and high school. I went to the Fashion & Design Institute and cosmetology school, but this was for the purpose of jobs that I had. I have been a lot of different things; all the things that I have learned over the years are things that I use. I was told that I didn’t paint properly, that I painted flat. I didn’t know what that meant, so if you look at my work now it is a combination of painting flat and painting with the shading and the whole nine yards which has become my style.
SAHC: As a Sacramento artist what responsibilities do you believe that you have to the local and the global community?
GOS: It’s my responsibility to continue good work. It is my responsibility, to make sure if I do a show people walk away and they feel as if they saw something. I am doing everything I possibly can to do something different. I am a twin and growing up everything had to be like somebody else’s, so as an almost senior citizen I am doing my very best to make certain that everything I do is mine. That may run the risk of doing stuff that may be ugly or maybe someone may not like it. But at the same time I have a right as an artist to do some funky stuff. There is a lot of Artists who have come before me and I owe a lot to them but I don’t have to paint like them. There has already been Mona Lisa we don’t need to see that chic no more.
SAHC: What advice do you have for emerging artists, or those pursuing a career in the arts?
GOS: Do Not be afraid to try new stuff, if you see art by me don’t be afraid to see what it is all about because somewhere deep down in my story is your story is right there too. Because we are all people and that is the most important thing. If you get involved with people of other cultures your collection has a better chance of growing. If you stick with one culture you tend to paint the same way, or paint the same types of things. So I figure if you open up your door and open up your mind it makes it better for everybody.
SAHC: Who are some of your favorite Sacramento Artists, and why?
I like Linda Gelfman because her stuff is funky. Linda Gelfman is my first real artist that I met in Sacramento that became a personal friend of mine. I met Linda because she taught at American River College where I also taught visual merchandising. Linda had a big ladder and I would come around to borrow her ladder, she didn’t really realize that a lot of times I was really there to just see what she was doing. I just wanted to be around the art. She would be one of my favorite artists around town because she does some crazy things.
SAHC: Where are some of your favorite Art/ Art History resources or references found?
GOS: I look at magazines, I get my references from fashion, I get my references from people, I am a notorious people watcher. My Inspiration comes from anything. I am big on bricks; if you look at my art there is a brick in everything that is an east coast thing. My inspirations come from anywhere, what I like about Sacramento is the challenge of coming up with something new because everyone is looking for something new that is an inspiration to come up with something fresh.
SAHC: Is there anything else about the arts here in Sacramento that you would like share with our reader?
GOS: I would suggest that you do what you love best; when we try to chase rainbows that belong to other people we fall short. The best way to keep on top of your game is to create your own game; it’s when you follow the footsteps of others that you fall in. Everyone that I like I have been wise enough to not want to be. What I am saying by that is, I may like you ultimately but I know down the road I still have to be me. Looking for the opportunity to be yourself, it is your freedom of expression not someone else’s. The greatest advice that I can give is to be true to yourself, create what makes you happy. Nine times out of ten if you create something that makes you happy it will make others happy.
SAHC: Where can your work be viewed, or found online?
GOS: Works can be seen in at http://www.Gerry-Simpson.com and I will part of a show coming to the SMUD Gallery which is on faith and religion.