Art should entice your mood, no matter which direction the piece shifts your emotional balance. The feeling of serenity, balance, and power could be the adjectives to describe your wave of emotions when viewing Bri Simpson's artwork. A lot of purple covers the bodies of her painted women, and something so tranquil about their poses are striking in pondering, 'what was the artist thinking?' So we asked the artist, Bri Simpson, our favorite question here at Vinyle. "How does your artwork express your soul?" Here's what she has to say.
Painting has always been therapeutic for me. I would finish my homework in college so I could have weekends to myself filling my room with new artwork. There is something magical about taking raw materials and building these worlds for others to experience.
As a kid, I loved art, but for a while, I struggled with connecting to what I saw in museums and textbooks. The women in the paintings I would see didn’t look like me. The artwork hanging up in galleries wasn't colorful or vibrant. Then when it came to black art, there always seemed to be a focus on particular times in history. Slavery and sharecroppers, civil rights, and social commentary. I longed for something more, something different.
When I started participating in art shows after undergrad, it was an eye-opening experience. Here I was, traveling up and down the east coasts to cities I'd never been to before, completely vulnerable, and on display. People would come over and start asking questions, and the next thing I knew, I was having these long conversations with strangers about self-care and womanhood.
Over the years, my artwork has grown from being this simple act of self-care into an entire experience. Now when I go to create, I think of the stories I can tell; I choose the colors with intentions; I'm more conscious about who my audience is. I'm also more aware of the fact that who I was when I started painting is different now. My art is always changing, always growing, and still exploring new ideas. As I grow and experience new things in life, it shows in my work.
The biggest take away I want people to get from my art is that black art can be more than just the pains and sadness black people have experienced. Black art can be colorful, spiritual, feminine, and enchanting. I want black women, especially to be able to see themselves in my work, as these divine, multifaceted beings. During this time of global shift, it’s becoming more apparent that we all have talents and gifts to share with the world. I hope to continue to use my platform to celebrate and uplift black women and black art overall.