We need art. Some of us need it more than others, and for some of us, it's as necessary as the air we breathe. My guest on this episode of The Art Biz is Rich Simmons, a London-based artist who insists that art saved his life. Rich is not an art therapist, but he is an advocate for the therapy of an art practice. He knows from first-hand experience that art heals.
Rich has struggled with depression and was eventually diagnosed with Aspergers. The realization that making art could make him feel better was life-changing, and he wanted other people to know about this. In 2008 he started Art Is The Cure to inspire people to turn to creativity in times of pain. Art has given his life purpose. In our conversation, you’ll hear that Rich has many balls up in the air. He makes murals, gives workshops, sells prints, has recently entered the NFT market, and is starting a podcast. And that is just scratching the surface of his inspiring ambitions.
“I was thrown into the deep end.” Rich’s unusual entry into the art world. (2:51)
Rich started on his artistic path at a very young age by trading art with his grandfather. (7:57)
Discovering art as a form of creative therapy amidst personal turmoil. (11:49)
The act of creative release has expanded Rich’s spectrum and allows him to make better art. (17:44)
Art Is The Cure gave Rich the purpose he needed to move forward. (24:50)
How to channel your negative energy in a way that affects change. (33:48)
Finding inspiration, community and movement, and what to do when art is the source of your stress. (36:50)
Rich’s income stream and his approach to creating a continual stream of potential clients. (41:50)
“I want to give back to art because art saved my life.” — Rich Simmons
“I like to say yes to opportunities no matter what it is and try to figure out how to do it.” — Rich Simmons
“I realized I had found my own version of art therapy, and I needed to help other people discover their own version of art therapy.” — Rich Simmons
“An artist’s job is not only to be a storyteller but to evoke emotions.” — Rich Simmons
“I couldn't be an inspiration for people if I wasn’t looking after myself.” — Rich Simmons
“You can be the messenger about how powerful art can be.” — Rich Simmons
Rich Simmons is an Urban Pop artist who has exhibited all over the world. Simmons' work explores the intersections of visual culture, spanning pop art, comic books, the Renaissance, contemporary fashion, sexuality and beyond.
Simmons' bold use of color, intricately detailed hand-cut stencils, sense of humor and thought-provoking narratives running through his work are proving Rich is both an innovator and highly collectible artist.
Simmons is also the creator and founder of Art Is The Cure, a vInspired award-winning organization promoting art therapy and has run workshops and talks around the world.