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John F. Simon, Jr: pioneer artist connects science, spiritual and natural worlds and math

John F. Simon, Jr. is one of the pioneers in the development of Software Art and is renowned in this area for articulating the use of code in digital and multimedia works since the mid 1980s. This early community of artists and curators created the first wave of software applications, web-based projects and digital approaches to art making, which continue to expand in new directions every year. As an example, in 2011 Simon completed an app for Icelandic singer Björk’s new album, Biophilia; the first app album ever created.

Daily drawing practice Simon makes drawings every day. His “Divination Drawings” are a years-long practice of daily hand drawings which the artist uses to meditate, but also as source material for larger works. Drawings from the Divination series begin intuitively; a pencil drawing or watercolor is started and then guided by the unconscious thoughts and emotions of that day. Simon’s interests include the scientific, spiritual and natural worlds, with mathematics usually playing the connecting role. Where many people see technical proficiency, others see art historical references, the beauty of scientific minutia, and the delicate nuances that occur from years of color studies. The drawings shared daily through the artist’s website, are the source of his symbolism and his engine for artistic growth. When an image persists in these drawings, Simon translates it into something larger and more dimensional. He works in diverse media such as: software, computers, paint, pencil, wood, HDU, formica, and linoleum and frequently uses computer controlled fabrication tools like a laser cutter and CNC router.

Biography His seminal work “Every Icon” was included in the Whitney Biennial (2000). Simon’s artworks can be found in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Collezione Maramotti, The Brooklyn Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. In October 2005 the Whitney Museum of American Art and Printed Matter published Simon’s artist’s book and software CD, “Mobility Agents” based on the notebooks of Paul Klee.

Simon holds an MFA degree from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and a Masters degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis. He is represented in New York by Sandra Gering, Inc.


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