We had the good fortune of connecting with Carol Simon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carol, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
Stay Happy and Be Positive is my mantra. I live by this affirmation daily in my personal and professional life. I feel if you look at the positive in all situations you find opportunities that you never dreamed possible. I also believe looking for happiness and gratitude is the gift in life. I use my mantra in my business by creating art that brings daily happiness to myself and my collectors.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My signature abstract paintings of ink on plexiglass are eruptions of dazzlingly colorful geometric figures, biomorphic shapes, and blended color fields, which their shimmering, large-scale canvases can barely contain. It’s the kind of work that transforms whatever space it inhabits, bringing color and joy to those fortunate enough to experience this art on a regular basis. My primary materials—alcohol based ink, plexiglass (mounted on wood), and sometimes aluminum instead of glass—combine to produce some arresting effects that make her work really stand out. I usually paint on one side of the plexiglass and ultimately flips the sheet over, making the outward facing side essentially a distortion—or reimagining—of the original composition. To manage how the final version will look I must continually adjust the image, flipping back and forth between each side to gauge how paint applied to the obverse looks when it’s reversed. It is a meticulous, dynamic process; and nothing like painting on an opaque surface. Because the painting is on plexiglass—and because the ink itself is relatively transparent—a second image is visible as a reflection when light strikes the piece at a certain angle. So each piece is a wholly original, inherently dynamic artwork that highlights different aspects of itself at different times of the day and from different angles or perspectives. “You don’t ever see the same reflection when you shine light on one of my pieces, since you can never duplicate all the conditions exactly, which enhances the subjective experience—with a reflection, your eye mixes colors that aren’t necessarily there physically.” In addition to the key role it plays in the doubling effect, alcohol ink is especially well suited to a spontaneous, abstract painter who does not actually use brushes and rarely preconceives what any given piece will ultimately look like. Dripping the ink and manipulating it in other ways, using a variety of tools and techniques, I direct the intricacies of its chemical magic: the unusual way its colors interact; and how it conjures shapes and patterns that are sometimes purely accidental. In the heat of creation, the ink has what seems like a will of its own, going off and blending where it wants to blend; but ultimately bending to my vision, with the final piece almost like a collaboration between the artist and my volatile, intoxicating(ed) colors. On the surface, where it really counts, my work is luminous and vibrant, engulfing the viewer in its blazing color and visual immediacy. It is on the conceptual level, though, where the work’s hidden power may be found, and ensures that this art is never static as it turns in on itself and then expands outward. Like all the best art, what you see depends on where you stand.
My journey 6 + years into the Houston art community has been very rewarding but not without of challenges. After some research, I decided the best approach for my business would be to lease a studio at Sawyer Yards where I could both make and sell my art and was excited to be part of a community with other artists. I believed that our combined resources would allow us be bigger together then if we all sold alone. This has held true in that I have made lots of artists friends who teach me and collaborate together and have gotten clients from open studios. Additionally, having monthly open studios allow the public to come visit me. I however realized that I needed to be the destiny of my own business and market myself to really bring in collectors. My message to other artists is to keep an open mind to new possibilities and to be flexible in your art and your business. Most importantly do what you love and the rewards will come.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would bring them to all the new green spaces in the city as well as the many cultural spots like Sawyer Yards to meet lots of interesting people, I would also take them to see a show or concert at Hobby center, alley theater, etc. I would bring them to have brunch, lunch and wine on the patio at my favorite restaurants Back Street cafe and Postinos.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give my shout out to my wonderful family, including my fabulous husband Kenny, and daughters Lauren and Stephanie and my new son-in law Blaine, who all encourage me to follow my dreams and are always supporting me with love. They encourage me to dream big and to reach for my creative dreams and not let barriers get in my way. Also, a big shout out to my artist besties Barbara, Nergis and Diane who make my art journey lots of fun.