An Interview with Denise Simon

The lovely Denise Simon creates the most charming drawings I’ve come across in a long time. She was nice enough to answer of few questions for me about her artwork and where she gets her inspiration. It’s not a surprise that Denise seems just as charming as the drawings she creates!

What five words best describe you as an artist?
I don’t know the best five words, but I am extremely happy and grateful to have found a creative and inspiring skill.

When did you first become interested in being an artist? Who or what inspired you to begin drawing?
Art has always been my main interest ever since I was a kid. I don’t know what attracted me to drawing, but it was and is very comforting. I grew up around art. My family was very creative when I was little, from photography, sewing, painting, sculpting and drawing and that was a huge influence. When I got to high school, it was obvious I couldn’t do math, I was not interested in science, history or english really. I wish I could go back in time and I would have asked my mom if I could have been unschooled. I had to go through many hoops to get where I am today - unschooling would have allowed me to just stick with what interested me - art.

What materials do you use to create your pieces? Any reason why you choose this medium?
Before I decided that I was going to be self-employed, I did most of my drawings at work so I ended up just using pencils and ball point pens. Now that I actually have the time I love watercolor. I am still experimenting with other materials {gocco, letterpress, digital} but watercolor is my favorite.

I absolutely love the charming characters that you create! Your art makes me want to curl up with a blanket and drink some hot tea. Where or how do you get the ideas for your drawings?
I’m influenced by children’s books, photography, randomness, overhearing conversations, folk art, friends, music, Chicago, my sketchbook, making lists, old magazines, thrift stores… I can keep going.

Did you attend any sort of formal art school training or are you self-taught?
I’d like to say self taught. I did however go to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago for photography - it was mainly a conceptual school. We were not taught technique rather we were taught to make work that had an idea behind it. It was super challenging, but it made me open up as an artist and realize that even if you try not to make conceptual work, your art is still influenced by something — whether it be your home, what you ate yesterday, what music is playing, or how the weather is outside. Everything around you is an influence.

What sort of mood or message do you wish to convey to your audience through your artwork?
I guess each of my drawings are snippets from moments and expressions between kids, animals, and the home.

Where do you hope to see yourself going as an artist in the future?
I am working on getting art representation. I would love to create more commercial work, illustrate some children books and keep up with my fine art work.

Where has your work been featured? Are there any upcoming events?
I have been featured at Renegade Handmade, My My Handmade, The Shiny Squirrel and Cranky Yellow. I just got back from my first solo show at Cranky Yellow in St. Louis - it was tons of fun!! I also have showed at The Carmichael Gallery in CA and The Helm Gallery in Tacoma, WA. I am working on a new show for Shiny Squirrel in May…. get excited!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time (aside from drawing, of course)?
I am obsessed with riding my bike, reading books, cooking lots and lots of vegan food, and taking pictures.

For more about Denise, you can visit her blog. It is a great place to visit for insight into her life as an artist, as well as a great source of inspiration. Thanks again, Denise!

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