TRENDER: Artist + Writer Scott Simmons

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


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Painter Scott Simmons is trying his hand at a new form of art: novel writing.

Who are the Rhode Islanders leading in arts, fashion, food, and style? They're Trenders, and GoLocalProv offers glimpses of the people you most want to know on the scene. Today's Trender is Scott Simmons, painter of over 15 years and newly published fiction author. Originally from South Carolina, Simmons has lived in Rhode Island for 10 years and has made a splash in the Creative Capital.

You're a painter. What led you to work in fiction?

I consider myself an avid reader and, over the past several years, have started to become disappointed with the novels I was reading. Especially when their authors seemed to be purposely killing off characters so that the storyline could end. This made me realize that I should write what I wanted to read.

Does the fantasy genre hold a particular appeal for you? What inspired this form of storytelling?

I have always been interested in the fantasy genre. The first book I think I ever read was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, which I purchased at a little secondhand bookstore near my grandmother's home. I later began reading the works of Isaac Asimov, Richard Adams, and Frank Herbert, to name just a few of the writers in my library that have inspired me with my own work.

Are you done writing? Or does this feel like the beginning for you?

Choices—A Tale of the Gwerin is the first in a series of novels that will take place on the world of Gwer. I'm already a third of the way through book two of the Gwerin saga and have started book one of a parallel series in which the storyline is based from the "bad guys" point of view. A friend suggested that I write a prequel to these stories and I have another mythos based story on the back burner.

How do painting and writing overlap for you as an artist? Or do they not overlap at all?

For me writing seemed like a natural transition from painting because I was writing a lot, describing color and visual cues, over my sketches. I even found it easier to write in pencil in notebooks to maintain the feeling that I was drawing.

Are you currently painting, and if so, what are you working on?

Yes. I am still painting. I am represented by several galleries and have been doing commission work for clients since the beginning of 2013.

What's the best thing about being an artist in Rhode Island? The most challenging thing?

The best thing about Rhode Island are its landscapes—natural and manmade. The commissions I have been doing consist of architectural paintings of homes on Benefit Street and a couple of commissions for the Manton St. Power Plant. Unfortunately, the most challenging thing for any artist in Rhode Island is its economy and its slow move out of this recession.


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