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Spotlight Artist David Simon

We are happy to announce our fall quarter spotlight artist, David Simon. David is currently a part of our Extension and Full-time programs at LAAFA. He serves as faculty chair for our 3-Year Fine Art Program. Starting October 3rd, David will be teaching a 10-week Long Pose Portrait Sculpture class for our extension program. Click here to enroll.

1. At what age did you realize that you had artistic abilities?

I began to sculpt in high school. I tried painting, but I’m color-blind and was always frustrated with not being able to see what I was doing.

2. You have taught sculpting for over 15 years. Tell us how sculpting improves one’s overall artistic abilities?

Sculpting is a natural complement to representational painting and drawing. It requires a more thorough understanding of form and structure, which are elements that painting and drawing attempt to evoke. An actual in-depth understanding of them helps.

3. You have taught at LAAFA for several years in the full-time program. How do you convey to students the importance of learning the foundational skills in becoming a well-trained artist?

I encourage students to take advantage of the access that they now have to foundational skills of drawing, painting and sculpture by conveying how things were when I was in school. There was no place like LAAFA where students who were so inclined could delve into these subjects with expert guidance. We were left to fend for ourselves in acquiring the information, researching methods and materials in old, out-of-print books and through trial and error.

4. What are your thoughts about representational art and how it has evolved through the years?

Representational art went through a long decline during the last century and in the past 15 -20 years has been making a slow but steady resurgence. Many of the skills and information necessary to work in this mode had all but disappeared, and it has taken awhile for them to be reacquired to the point where artists are working naturally in that format and expanding and exploring its boundaries.

5. Can you tell us about an artist, instructor or mentor who has inspired you?

I had a high school art teacher and two instructors at RISD to whom I owe a lot. Gordon Heath, my high school art teacher, treated his students as future artists and consequentially many of them became artists. When most high school art classes were glorified arts and crafts workshops, he introduced us to oil painting and etching, disciplines which require sequential thinking, patience and discipline. Merlin Szosz, my freshman 3D design teacher at RISD is a representational sculptor and took extra time with me outside of class to give me my first lesson in mold-making. Tony Janello, an extraordinarily talented painter, sculptor and draftsman was an instructor in the illustration department at RISD who took special interest in me and mentored me throughout my senior year.

6. What are your thoughts on the new emerging fine artists that are making their mark in the art world?

There are many representational sculptors around the world who are doing good, interesting work; Gerhard Demetz, Brian Craig, Evan Penny, and Ron Mueck come to mind.