We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristin Simmons and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristin, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
A habit that helped me succeed is saying “yes” 95% of the time to attending events, participating in new opportunities, and, most importantly, meeting new people. Even if it pushes you out of your comfort zone or you don’t see a direct correlation to your business, there is always the opportunity to learn or meet someone new. For me, it was always my weakest connection that brought the most growth and success to my business. My best advice would be to stay open to meeting new people and experiencing any new opportunities that might come your way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think that everything in this world is a double-entendre. If you can’t see it, look closer. I use paint, printmaking, and mixed media to provide a running commentary on myself and my contemporaries. My work focuses on hedonistic pleasures—and in particular, the absolute pleasure of consumption—it is as acerbic, provocative, and unapologetically clever as it is empathetic and vulnerable. Some parts of my journey were easier than I expected, and some parts were much more difficult than I expected. I think you can overcome any obstacle or challenge you face if you care enough about the work you do and if you want something badly enough. I have learned so many lessons along the way, too many to list here, but I would say the most important lesson I have learned is to always trust your gut in terms of people you choose to work with. Just follow your instincts always. I want the world to know that there are many female artists who have received less than fair recognition if we are comparing them to male counterparts. It’s not so much about the world knowing who I am or what I do; I want everyone in the world to be able to name five female visual artists, which as of now, most college-educated people cannot do.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting New York City and I wanted to show them the best time ever, we would stay at my home and studio located in Greenwich Village, which I would say is the heart of Manhattan. I would take them walking on the Highline and to the Whitney Museum. You always see so many interesting people and unique things just by being outside and walking around the city. Another favorite spot of mine is the Strand Book Store, which is one of the oldest bookstores in New York City. It’s like getting lost in a library of curiosities every time I go there. In terms of eating and drinking, I love Mexican good, and one of my favorite restaurants is Fonda. They have this great Mexican Street Cart inside the restaurant, which was a favorite dinner spot of mine pre-covid. I would say my favorite place to grab drinks with friends is actually my studio. I love to host people for drinks because they always see different things in my art, which spark fascinating conversations.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to give a shoutout to the book “Never Split The Difference” by Chris Voss, which everyone who runs a small business should read, especially creatives, because we tend to undervalue our work.