Friday, November 23, 2018

Still, still, I mean it, After All

My book is here!

It's finally done and I'm so happy about how it came out- I've been working on it for over a year, on and off, trying to figure out how to translate my  text heavy images into the book form. It's a project I was very interested in because for a long time I've been thinking that my work lies somewhere between painting and writing. Many of my pieces have repeating characters and themes and several of my images work as chapters in on ongoing narrative, rather than conclusions in and of themselves.

 It's very satisfying to have this series of pieces in a book format, all together, in sequence, with the important text readable in the correct order.  The book is 144 pages long and the images are large and only slightly less vivid than the originals. I love it. You can take a look at the first 15 or so pages by clicking the little image below, which links you to a little preview of the book on Blurb, the print-on-demand site where I had the book made.

If you'd like to purchase a copy, you can do so at that link too, but be warned: the softcover version is totally beautiful but way more expensive than what you'd pay for a similar book in a bookstore. This is what happens when one can't get thousands of copies of a book published in China. There is an ebook version available as well, and I get about the same amount of money from sales of either book, so if you're interested in supporting what I so by buying a book, do what fits your budget. If you are a huge fan and would like a personalized copy, please email me at and I will make arrangements to send one your way!

Friday, April 06, 2018

Saga 2

Saga 2 is up on the website! I'm in the thickets of Saga 3 right now, but I still love working large. Saga 2 is seven feet eight inches long. Here is a tiny picture of the huge painting. You can see it bigger on my website.

There are are some funny references in the piece. The black ship on the right is the U.S.S. Constitution, and the one on the S.S. United States, which is a sad wreck of an ex-cruise ship that is docked across from IKEA in Philadelphia. There are several recognizable political figures in the painting (many of them show up as a well-dressed species of invasive aquatic sponge) and the flowers from Saga 1 , which I came to think of as hysterical media beasts, have weaponized their speech. These paintings connect end to end, and they are meant to be read as one big narrative, from left to right.

I post pictures of my work in progress on Instagram a fair amount now (I'm the_drawist), and there's a nice picture of Saga 1 and 2 together there, as well as a few shots from a wonderful show I saw at the National Gallery recently: Outliers and American Vanguard Art, which was so, so good.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Politics (In the Weeds with Snakes and Saga 1)

I'm working on a series of paintings that are more explicitly political than what I've made before. In The Weeds With Snakes, from earlier this year, is very clearly about a personal reaction to the election. The content of this piece is impossible to see at a small size but you can click the link above to see details.

And this, below, is also an allegorical response to the current climate. It's also huge: it's an 8 foot watercolor and ink painting on paper. I love making giant watercolors, and I'm well into making the next one in this series. I'm going to make several of these large pieces. Each painting will continue the action the one before it, and the edges will match, so images flow from painting to painting. I've titled the first one of these paintings Saga 1, but I may well change that title as I get more of the series done. You can see more of Saga 1 on my website, here.

Samantha Simpson, Saga 1 (Working Title), Ink and watercolor on paper, 96" x 51", 2017

The large sequential pieces are based loosely on the saga of the Danian war that winds around Trajan's column in Rome.

I've been lucky enough to teach in Rome a couple times, and when I'm there I always visit the huge hole in the ground that surrounds Trajan's column. You can't easily get right up close to the images that wind around the column, but there is a long set of informational displays that show the images unwound in one long line. I'm always moved by those pictures. I know very little about the historical context of what I'm seeing, but it feels like a message from a lost society about the cost of a battle. It's a victory column with a message: we did this. Don't do it again. If you're interested, there's a great website that shows the images here. You can see details of my work on my website or on instagram, where I post in-progess shots of what I'm up to from time to time.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Philadelphia civic pride and frogs about the election

I'm particularly Philly proud this month because my work is in two group shows in two of my favorite civic buildings. 

You can see my work in A City of Artists, Celebrating the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours Philadelphia Art in City Hall gallery in room 116 on the first floor of City Hall. The exhibition was organized by the wonderful people at CFEVA and runs through December 2, 2016. The show celebrated the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, which run annually in October, and which brought some lovely people to my studio last weekend.

A tiny book with images from my paintings will also be on view in another Philadelphia civic building in November: I'm in the Philadelphia Center for the Book's Little Lexicons exhibition at the Philadelphia Free Library's Central branch. The exhibition will be up from November 4th to January 13, 2017, and I couldn't be more thrilled. The Philadelphia Library is one of my favorite places in Philadelphia, and I am a regular. I especially love their Print and Picture collection and the exhibitions up in the Rare Books Collection. If you are from Philadelphia and you haven't been up there, you should go, stat. (Because Grip!)

And last but not at all least, my latest frog painting, What We Must Do, is in a show curated by the brilliant Susan Coote in Episcopal Academy's Crawford Gallery called Messages and American Dreams, which is up until November 16th, 2016. I'm delighted that Susan included this piece it: she's an amazing curator, and these frogs are all about the election, so it's wonderful to have them in this show.