John F. Simon, Jr.

John F. Simon Jr. is a multimedia artist and Software Art pioneer whose work and installations are found in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others.  In 2011, he collaborated with Icelandic singer Björk to write an app for her album, Biophilia. Simon's newest publication, Drawing Your Own Path: 33 Practices at the Crossroads of Art and Meditation  will be released in November, 2016, by Parallax Press. Simon grew up in central Louisiana and currently lives and works in Sugar Loaf, New York. 

Moment of Expansion (2014)  HDU, Trupan, Metal and Plastic Laminates, Flashe Paint, Charcoal, 108 x 192 x 3 inches

Art Career

Simon’s art career spans over 25 years.  He began with pen plotter drawings, continued onto Internet Art, then created software artworks shown as sculptural wall hangings with LCD screens called ‘art appliances’, and most recently uses computer controlled fabrication techniques to sculpt bas-relief wall hangings out of mixed materials.  Having written his own software since the 1980s, he is fluent in the use of the computer, manipulating his tool’s potential in imaginative and innovative ways.  He produces new artworks each year that continue to be exhibited internationally and acquired by museums.   

 

A contemplative drawing practitioner, Simon’s daily drawings inspire his larger artworks.  After carefully observing his own intuitive markings, he interprets them using the unique properties of digital media to create artworks in diverse mediums such as: software, laser engraved plastic, machine carved HDU, laser-cut linoleum, inlayed plastic laminate, charcoal, and hand painted gouache drawings.

 

His seminal work "Every Icon" was included in the Whitney's Biennial Exhibition (2000). Simon’s artworks can be found in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Phillips Collection, Collezione Maramotti, The Brooklyn Museum, and the The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.   He is represented by the Sandra Gering Inc. gallery in New York City.

More information about his artworks and exhibitions can be found on his website:

Simon's art is represented in New York by Sandra Gering Inc:

A CV for John F. Simon, Jr. can be found at:

In 1999 Simon began his "Divination Drawings" -- a years-long practice of daily hand drawings which he uses to meditate, but also as source material for larger works. Drawings from the Divination series begin intuitively; a pencil is guided by the unconscious thoughts and emotions of that day.  When an image persists in these drawings, he translates it into something larger and more dimensional, fabricating it in diverse media often using computer controlled fabrication tools like a laser cutter and CNC router.

 

Simon looks for meaning in the finished drawings by reading them like an inkblot test: "I make up a story. I find personal and global references in the story. The story and drawing start to reinforce each other."  A new drawing and reading are shared each day on his website www.iclock.com.  Subscribers to the iClock mailing list receive the day's drawing.  

iClock Daily DIvination Drawing 9.10.2014

An archive of past divination drawings as well as today's daily drawing can be found on:

Daily Drawing Practice on iClock.com
Drawing Your Own Path

Simon taught graduate students at the School of Visual Arts in New York City as a professor in the MFA Computer Art program.  He left the faculty to pursue his art career full time and has continued to teach courses and lecture.  It was at one of his workshops that he was first inspired to write, Drawing Your Own Path.  He discusses this experience in the following excerpt from his book:

"As I prepared to hold a workshop on contemplative drawing at the 2014 Buddhist Geeks conference, my only concern was how I could best convey my topic to an audience of meditators.  I have a lot of experience teaching artists, guiding them toward the source of their creativity and helping them find their motivation for making things.  I also maintain a regular drawing practice that is my path to meditation.  However, for this group, I felt like I had to approach the topic in the opposite way, asking experienced meditators from a variety of traditions to start with mindfulness and then examine what arose as they made drawings.

As the workshop got underway, I asked the participatns to pick up pencils and begin to freely make marks.  When I invited everyone to notice resistance, the so-called inner critic, there were a few quiet gasps.  Some people hadn't been able even to begin.  Being with so many experienced meditators was an exciting moment and I felt like we'd found the first edge to work with.  The workshop kept going and everyone completed a variety of practices -- many of which are described in this book -- and to my delight, the resonance was strong and the feedback was warm.  I had known the contemplative and creative paths were compatible, but when I worked with this group I was amazed at how closely the practices and teachings aligned.  The connections I made that day showed me that a wide variety of people could understand a mindful drawing practice, and I felt an obligation to share how this practice can enrich the creatve life; that is how you could have come to be holding this book."

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© 2016 John F. Simon, Jr