Nicholas Simmons, a contemporary Washington D.C. artist, continues to make headlines with his beautifully bold, large-format paintings. His works will be featured in the Winter 2009 issue of Watercolor
magazine (American Artist) and while his notoriety is growing as an innovative artist with much-sought-after workshops and demonstrations, he's a darn fine guitarist to boot.|
Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nicholas grew up with an interest in art and music that continued after high school. While independently honing his artistic skills, he studied with watercolorists such as Barbara Nechis and the late Valfred Thëlin (Watercolor: Let the Medium Do It). His work was subsequently featured in Nechis' Watercolor from the Heart in 1993.
Nicholas' proficiency as a guitarist led him to pursue music as a creative career, taking on the occasional art commission from time to time. He studied guitar under the tutelage of Pat Metheny and Manuel Barrueco and had Ibanez Guitars sponsoring his music.
In 2002 Nicholas returned to painting full time and in 2003 he launched his website www.nicholassimmons.com. By 2004 he and his wife Olga had their beautiful daughter, Larissa. The years that followed were a whirlwind of recognition, appreciation, and growing respect for an artist coming into his own with a fresh, fluid, contemporary take on painting with watercolors and acrylics.
In 2007 he won top prize at the National Watercolor Society 87th Annual Exhibition, with "Fresh Sushi," followed by a 2008 Gold Medal for his painting "Tokyo Express" (above) in the 29th Annual Pennsylvania Watercolor Society International Juried Exhibition. At the Baltimore Watercolor Society 2008 Mid-Atlantic Show his painting "Summer Sonata" won the Silver Medal.
Through his success, the Da Vinci Paint Company and Princeton Artist Brushes became sponsors and Creative Catalyst Productions produced his debut Innovative Watermedia instructional DVD.
Known for his aggressively irreverent, paradigm-busting approach to watercolor painting, Nicholas stresses working in a large format for beginners. He teaches that artists can learn better control and less fear by understanding what the paint wants to do at the scale it physically wants to do it. This encourages new and old students alike:
"Small mistakes can ruin small paintings.
You gotta make BIG mistakes to ruin big paintings."
In an interesting intersection of creative fronts, Nicholas was instrumental (ha!) in the design, production, and marketing of Dean Guitars Tommy Bolin "Teaser" Commemorative Guitar, a solid body electric featuring a graphic of the late guitarist. (You can see an interview with Nicholas at the guitar's release at the 2008 NAMM show here: Tommy Bolin Tribute Dean Guitars NAMM 2008.) For a taste of Nicholas' classical playing watch this one: Venezuelan Waltz (Valse Criollo) by Antonio Lauro.
In the coming year look for Nicholas being interviewed in The Artists Magazine, authoring a June "Creativity Workshop" column in Watercolor Artist, and in the Best of 2008 issue of Watercolor Artist.
Keep abreast of his latest work by visiting www.nicholassimmons.com where you'll also find information about giclee print availability, workshops, instructional media, and other art news. You will find a more in-depth and day-to-day look into the life of the artist at his popular blog: nicholassimmons.blogspot.com. Nicholas' Innovative Watermedia Creative Catalyst Productions DVD can be purchased HERE!