Mike Simpson, Ohio artist at State of the Art

This month, State of the Art would like to draw special attention to our featured artist, Mike Simpson. Geodesic Designs, the host of State of the Art would not exist if not for the mentoring of Mike Simpson. As both an educator and an artist, his influence inspires awe. It is a personal honor to have Mr. Simpson in both last month’s showcase and the upcoming May 15th event. We implore you to visit us at Barleycorn this Thursday to catch this fabulous artist’s incredible achievement.

We recently interviewed Mike Simpson about his work:

When you discuss your work displayed at our last showcase with people, how do you describe it/ title it?

The sculptures have no titles. Rarely if a large shape of Styrofoam suggests reality such as a seated owl it will be titled.

How would you describe the path that culminated and lead to the creation of this current body of work?

The revered psychologist Karl Jung wrote about his discovery of psychological types. One of many was intuition. An intuitive individual is a seeker who asks upon finding an object, what can I do with it. The imposition of the intuitive challenge is allowing something to inspire his/her creativity. Manifesting this idea, are three major artists (among others):

Henry Moore would endlessly search for stones and animal skeletons whose forms and certain shapes he found interesting. No certain shapes were searched for to meet a preconceived idea, but those forms that he found interesting. Many forms would lay in wait in his studio until Moore was inspired to create or discard.

Robert Rauschenberg found his inspirations in the city streets. He searched for items that inspired this creativity.

Louise Nevelson, a personal favorite of mine, was also inspired by the castoffs of society found in scrap piles in the streets. She used to wade through old buildings that were being torn down, and/or destined to be destroyed. An example was a beautiful wooden hand railing from an abandoned schoolhouse. Many wonderful pieces of sculpture were brought to life from theses findings.

Please describe the technical process involved in making your body of work.

Worshiping Nevelson and not wanting to copy her, I chose Styrofoam packing forms to inspire my work. These forms were used in their entirety or in sections I found interesting through my non-rational or preordained decisions – also known as, “intuition”. After arranging them face side down in a steel form, I buried them in concrete to the top of the form. The next day, the Styrofoam was completely removed and the concrete sculpture exposed.

Where and how do you think your sculptures are best displayed?

The sculpture compositions are best placed outside – lawn – patio, etcetera. The suns movement allows for constant design changes within the frame. The shadows and highlights vary considerably. The work can be placed indoors in an appropriate area. The small sculptures also make classy bookends.

Mike Simpson’s artwork is available for purchase at Thursday’s event. Please contact Keith Skogstrom or Julia Kepler for pricing information.

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