Rich Simmons claims that art saved his life. A bold statement to be sure. But then his art is bold too. He recently gained recognition on the British art scene because of his controversial piece depicting Prince William and Kate Middleton, a street art mural of them as Sid Vicious and Nancy was sure to turn heads. His focus is on depicting beauty through graffiti, a medium which is not usually associated with beauty but which has gained fans recently because of artists like Banksy. Simmons is self-taught and learnt his craft using stencils, looking to pop art for inspiration and admiring the style of comic books. His success is demonstrated by an entire show of his work being purchased by the Princess of Azerbaijan. Growing up with Autism he used art as an escape, as a therapy. And because of the profound effect it has on him and his life he started the youth movement ‘Art is the Cure’ to give something back. Its aim was to get people from a variety of different ages and backgrounds to start using art to express themselves, regardless of talent. He won the Vinspired Most Inspirational Volunteer award back in 2009 and was a finalist for Young Ambassador of the Year by the Prince’s Trust in 2010 for his work. Now his new show is coming to London. ‘Just Be You Tiful’ shows his new experiments with graffiti and asks the viewer to see the art form differently. Discovering the beauty that can be formed using just a spray can and stencil.
The private view takes place at Imitate Modern in Marylebone tonight. Check out the teaser video here:
Words by Chloe Smith