Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cheesecake with a Kick: Artist Rich Simmons

This Sunday when I was walking with my friend, this amazing piece caught my eye in the window of the SoHo Contemporary Art Gallery:

A photo posted by Desiree (@itsdlovely) on

Of course I had to go in and I'm so glad I did.

The artist, Rich Simmons, is a London-based street artist. He's the guy that did this right after the Royal Wedding:


Simmons plays with the midcentury images and themes I obviously lose my mind over. The Elvgren girls with their vulgar graffiti is so tongue in cheek and brilliant. It kind of reminds us that nice girls can have filthy mouths, too, and that pinup art was about sex. Whether it was adorable, like Elvgren's stuff, or ethereal and nearly naked like Varga, it was about sex and sexuality. Which isn't to say all the pinups in Simmons' work are raunchy. Here's a warm, fuzzy, positive message that I should probably tape to my mirror for when I'm having a bad day:

A photo posted by Desiree (@itsdlovely) on

Of course, I made the "fuck" one my computer background.

I also loved the way he turned comics on their heads for some wonderful storytelling. Batman and Superman have a thing, and then the girl (Lois Lane?) sees them and her heart breaks (it's OK, honey, we've all been there). The two great, big men kissing--and doing God only knows under that cape--is subversive, sexy, and reminds me of Tom of Finland (link kinda NSFW).

And then Batman's kissing on Wonder Woman on another canvas. That series is so deliciously dramatic and darkly comic. The superheroes also do a little social commentary about the dangers of ridiculous materialism and consumption. The comic characters, the spray paint, the comedy--it's very New York and so familiar without being cliche. This is the kind of thing you'd stumble across on a quiet street in a "bad" neighborhood (or a trendy neighborhood that used to be bad).

Watch the promo video and get excited! New Yorkers, I urge you to run, not walk, to this gallery. I'm just sorry I didn't find out about this in time to hear Simmons actually talk about his work.

Visit the SoHo Contemporary Art Gallery to see all of the amazing in person.


  1. Hi Desiree, please email me if you'd like to participate in the traveling dress. I have a spot at mid to end of January if you are interested:) Joanna


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