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John Simpkins
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John Simpkins was born and raised in the Napa Valley of California. "As a little kid, I used to illustrate the walls of my bedroom - against my parents' wishes", he explains. "i climbed up into the closet and actually used crayons on the ceilings." Later, he pursued his artist muse at Napa College and with private tutoring by Earl Thollander. When Simpkins felt that his work was too similar to that of his tutor, however, he set out to free himself of preconceptions.

His search brought him to museums and libraries in both America and Europe. "I told the academic voice to shut up and let the child come out", he explains. "American primitive art appealed to me, so I started to experiment with that." His style developed until he had created an art form that can please with a single glance but also allows the viewer to study the paintings in order to discover layers of meaning.

Since 1976, he has had one-man shows in California and has been exhibiting from California to England. His work hangs in more than twenty private collections and has appeared in several magazines and books. Presently he resides in Oregon on rural mountain property he has named Ravenscroft, in honor of the bird he chose as his personal totem. "For me, the raven symbolizes knowledge, mystery, and inner voice, and the wisdom within. It is my personal animal spirit, guide, and mascot." On Ravenscroft, John Simpkins paints, gardens, and cooks in the company of his birds, dogs, and even llamas.

Print Shown: Pavane in Gold

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