I am a mixed media intuitive artist living on the northside of Chicago. I am a 53 year old single mother of two that has always only prioritized my children and my art for the last twenty years. I have learned embracing my mistakes make for a better understanding of what the universe wants for my art. I like to consider myself a self taught artist learning through the organic shapes in nature and the energy of the female body. I was lucky enough to experience top art schools in Chicago while working several jobs. I rebelled against rules of technique and styles, to develop my own. I am a fashion junkie for textiles and patterns, creating utopia environments with my collage and mixed media art.
My activism to right the injustices against people of color has caused my art to evolve. I am very verbally
active artistically in my community spreading the messages of love to our neighbors. Each piece of art represents the blood shed of the people of color that continues today. I am channeling the pain and suffering of my ancestors that bare no faces to the ones that harmed them. Not being able to identify the faces takes you to the mindset of a POC not feeling relevant enough to live or have justice.
I am also taking my art to the streets to advocate for social changes on racism, and women's rights with the murals, painted in bright colors with hidden messages to observe and process. The mediums and techniques used are homemade inks, collage, watercolor, and the new medium of encaustic wax painting with acrylic inks.
With our current situation in the world, my art has become a necessity for myself and others. There is a need for expression and discussion from POC. I am not concerned with my art work being liked by society, but I do want my work to spark an emotion to the viewer to ask the question of why when
they see my art.
"I Am Aware I Am Rare" is my motto, embracing being a female black artist without boundaries for expression in my creations. Learning to walk with my eyes closed in nature's beauty is what inspires me to become one with my highest power when creating. What is the first organic shape I see when I open my eyes, that relates to the female body and essence? Does anyone else see the woman in the tree that wants to be seen? What is her message, and how can I relate that in my art?
Jevoid Simmons is a 40-year resident of Evanston, IL. He and his life partner (wife) Dickelle Fonda are proud parents of Seth Simmons. Seth also resides in Evanston. Simmons retired two and a half years ago after a 35-year career in management as a human resource professional. The last 17 years were spent with the Art Institute of Chicago where he served as Director of Employee Relations and Training for the School and Museum. Central to his work was policy development, conflict resolution, managerial effectiveness and diversity equity and inclusion.
Simmons considers himself to be a work in progress. Embracing retirement, his mantra, is “I’m working to be the me I’m meant to be at this time in life”. In this life segment, a good deal of his time is devoted to making art. This has been a life-long love for Simmons. Though he has worked in a number of artistic styles, he considers his current art making to be more in line with folk and primitive art. Simmons paints and carves and has exhibited his work locally at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center (April – October 2019); Evanston’s Noyes Cultural Art Center; the Evanston Art Center; Garrett Theological Seminary (Northwestern University); The Art Institute of Chicago and Creative Co-working Gallery.
This Spring Simmons’ first book Up From Down Home, A Family’s Journey North, will be published. The book tells of his family’s migration out of rural Alabama in the early 1950’s. Like so many, his family was part of the mass exodus of Black folks out of the South for survival and better opportunities.
Simmons volunteers in the local community and served on the Evanston Art Council’s Art Equity Subcommittee.
As long as I can remember I’ve been an art maker. I’m not grounded in any specific artistic system. Art classes were a part of my educational experience from grade through junior high school. Of all the schooling received in those years, the art classes resonated with me; they fed my soul. I’m always amazed with the art produced by others, past and present and incorporate learnings from them where it makes sense. When painting I enjoy working in a primitive style. It’s not tied to the necessity of precision. It has a certain warmth and tranquility in the presence of turbulent surroundings and events of the day. I have an affinity for the work of Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robertson). Her work and that of similar artists capture a snapshot of life and tell a story.
As you view paintings that I have exhibited in Chicago and the suburbs, you may see similarities to Grandma Moses’ style. These and fourteen paintings support a written narrative regarding my family’s migration out of rural Alabama in the early 1950’s. I was the last of four boys born in Alabama. Twelve more siblings would be born in Iowa. There’s a twenty-five year span between the oldest to the youngest sibling in our family. This project has been an effort to connect our past, present and future generations. My hope is that other parents and family elders will share their own family story/ history with their children and grandchildren.
The paintings are part of my upcoming book, Up from down Home: A Family’s Journey North. The paintings were executed over a seven-year period with the last one completed in 2015. My hope was that the warm, tranquil style will invite the viewer into the picture. However; the related written narratives convey the extra ordinary hardships and the life and death struggle faced by Black folks living in the South under Jim Crow. The book will be available late April.
In addition to painting, I’m a woodcarver and storyteller. My carvings are ongoing and capture family, friends, acquaintances and other characters from the past. The carvings are a part of a collection I call Sugar Creek Folks.