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
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