A Pop of Art: Color, Culture & Fashion Collide on Canvas
By Scott Rutherford
auren Ross Simmons has been an artist for as long as she can remember. "My first award came when I was about six years old," she said. "For a sculpture piece I made called Spooky Tree." Ross Simmons still has that sculpture, though she says her artistic expression has evolved through the years "from visual to performing arts, back to a career in the visual arts world."
Her journey, which started here in her hometown of Shreveport, has included significant forays into the theatre, including tours with Cirque du Soleil as a wardrobe attendant and with the North American tour of Hello Kitty. She also spent nearly 20 years teaching children’s theatre.
These days, the bulk of Ross Simmons’ work is in acrylic on canvas. “Large canvases,” she stresses, adding, “I also specialize in resin finish and small, handmade resin items.”
Ross Simmons cites her time working in the performing arts as a significant influence on her visual art, though it’s hardly the only thing that informs her creativity. “I’m inspired by pop culture and fashion, mostly,” she said. “Pop culture, fashion, and color drive me to paint. I pull from iconic figures of the past and present and combine them with current fashions and designs.”
Of course, as with most artists, her influences are highly personal. “I believe the people you surround yourself with, the places you visit, and your everyday lifestyle are what influences your artistic vision and ultimately helps separate you as an individual,” Ross Simmons said. “Art can always be influenced by other artists – it’s when you find your style, the sky is the limit.”
You can see Ross Simmons’ works on display at her studio in downtown Shreveport. “You can also see my work in the Shreveport Regional Airport,” she said. “And in multiple businesses around town.” And that’s hardly the limit to her artistic ambitions. She encourages admirers of her work to stay tuned because she is currently in talks with a gallery in Austin and one in New York.
It’s worth noting that Ross Simmons has, throughout her career, also passed her passion for creating art on to others. “I used to teach art classes,” she said, “but Covid hit and things had to pivot for a little bit.” She’s not currently teaching classes, instead focusing on hosting weekly parties. The week we spoke with her, she had five parties on her schedule. Ross Simmons puts on painting parties for both children and adults.
When asked about her favorite creation, Ross Simmons said, “This is tough. I don’t think as an artist you have to love everything you do, but you should feel some pride about your work. I’ve done thousands of pieces… to choose one is way too difficult.”