Photography is my Heart

Parade Chicago1968


View John Simmons: Photography is my Heart Online

Bridget R. Cooks, Ph.D.: Curator

John Simmons has been building an archive of Black American life since he was a teenager growing up in Chicago in the 1960s. His unique observational skills have captured poignant moments that otherwise would have passed unnoticed. The selection of photographs curated for this exhibition is a modest offering of the subtle and beautiful ways in which Simmons stops time and encourages viewers to linger. They provide a sample of a lifetime of documentary and creative work in still photographs that spans over fifty years. 

Known primarily as a cinematographer, Simmons started his creative life with collage works on paper and photography. He was mentored by photojournalist Robert Sengstacke whose pictures in the Chicago Defender defined Black American culture in the 1960s and ‘70s. As a student at Fisk University, Simmons apprenticed for the great illustrator and muralist, Aaron Douglas, known as the father of the Harlem Renaissance. 

Read the entire curatorial statement here.

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“Art, Tech, and Assets,” was out most recent event in collaboration with Silicon Valley Bank @siliconvalleybank, where we celebrated the fusion of creativity and innovation with a conversation focused on the evolving narrative of art as an investment and cultural touchstone. Our panel featured Dr. Joy Simmons @joysimmonsdivadoc (esteemed art collector and philanthropist), Tom McLeod @tmcleod (serial entrepreneur and founder of Arkive), and Jeremy Quant @iamjeremyquant (CEO of Dot Red); and was moderated by Sarah Wendell Sherrill @sarahwendellsherrill (SVP at Christies).
Featuring works by artists such as Nikolas Soren Goodich @luminous_public_artist, Autumn Breon @autumnbreon, Knowledge Bennett @knowledge_bennett, Reginald W. Armstrong @squivel8, Penda Diakité @thebeautifulartist, Bart Cooper @b_art1, Sharon Barnes @sharonbarnes4702, and Aria Dean @lol_prosciutto  the exhibition presented a range of paintings, installations, and mixed media. These pieces explore themes of identity, social justice, heritage, and personal narratives, and are available on our website to purchase!
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🎨✨ Check out “Time Terms & Tears” by Clairfoster Browne, an artist who dabbles in everything from graffiti and live painting to fine art and graphic design. 🖼️ This powerful piece reflects on the historic significance of the first Black American President, marking a pivotal moment in history.
Visit the link in our bio to listen to the full audio description and hear about this piece directly from Clairfoster. While you’re there, explore more of his incredible work and the stories behind each piece. 🎧💫
His work combines ancient motifs, geometric designs, and urban aesthetics to map his inner emotional state. From fast-paced beginnings to a reflective artistic practice influenced by fatherhood, Clairfoster’s art is a glimpse into the soul of being.
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🎨✨ “Love affair with a circulatory system” by Nikolas Soren Goodich from his Luminous Symmetries series. 🌞🌜 
Nikolas is a mixed-race artist from LA, whose explores identity, social justice, and healing, blending his personal journey with his art. In his work, he makes use of light, color, and plexiglass, among other techniques to create impactful luminous pieces, including public art installations and smaller scale artwork. 
This captivating piece explores the balance between day and night, awareness and ignorance, love and hate.
Hit the link in our bio to listen to the full audio description and hear about this piece straight from Nikolas himself. While you’re there, check out more of his amazing work and the stories behind each one. 🖼️💫
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