I’m a huge fan of Pop Art, so when a friend sent out an invite of a new Artist’s work of Batman and Wonder Woman locked in a passionate yet tender embrace I wanted to see more of Rich Simmons work. Rich is a Street Artist whose work “brings the street into the gallery,” literally. I had the pleasure of  speaking with him and when asked about his personal style he referred to his work as “Street Art Archeology”. He goes out into the night in the to reclaim old unwanted billboards that are full of colors, patterns, and textures that cannot be replicated. He stencils onto them bold graphics of Superhero’s, Consumer Goods, and Royalty and then uses high-end spray paints for his medium.

Shortly after we finished our conversation he got up in front of everyone for a Q&A. This was particularly interesting especially since he started by stating that he’s an introvert with some ADD. Considering how most people are terrified to speak in public (to the point that Seinfeld had the classic line that “Death is #2 after Public Speaking in what people are afraid of”) he spoke like a pro starting by sharing his story and how he channels negativity into something beautiful by creating works of Art out of old billboards hanging on old buildings that he then transforms into beautiful thought-provoking Pop Art pieces now displayed on Fine Art Gallery Walls. He then started fielding questions from the audience. They included…

  • Street Art vs Graffiti -There is a distinction, not all Street Artists do Graffiti…or even started that way.
  • Batman as every guys inner hero – See attached pic of Batman in a Suit. I thought it was Bruce Wayne getting kinky with Lois Lane..
  • Would Hero’s do corporate sponsorships for money? – Works include Captain America decked out in Louie V and Wonder Woman out shopping
  • Hero’s have Sex lives – A number of his works explore this. They are virile, good looking, wear rather tight outfits…likely they are getting some.
  • What if your Hero was Gay…would you care? A number of works have Batman and Superman lip-locked with another set of works showing women seeing this and crying. 
  • Humans are no longer Hunters or Farmers, but Consumers and it literally consumes us. See the imagery below of a skeletal hand holding a bottle of perfume

While the pieces with the Superhero’s were my favorite because I’m a Comic Book geek, the works showing how we have become consumed with “Things” I think hit home the hardest. Not only as the goals of non-stop acquisition and consumption been on my mind, but in the last Hobbit movie a major character utters these words…“If more of us valued home above gold, it would be a merrier world.” To tackle this and of special note, Rich Simmons does not only ponder and paint about it, he does Charity work through his Charity Art is the Cure By working with galleries to sell his pieces he can fund his efforts to help others. Pictured below are a selection of his works from the show, but better yet check them out for yourself.

Soho Contemporary Art is located at 259 Bowery


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