STAY INSPIRED with Laurie Simmons

A conversation between the Sammlung Goetz and the artist about daily motivation and inspiration



What is your daily motivation, Laurie Simmons?

Having been an artist for most of my life I’ve never had to question my daily motivation. I’ve never questioned why I wake up every day or what I’m meant to do. It’s more often a situation of clearing the decks to be able to work. Like most artists or writers or musicians the days are better when one can get into the (metaphorical) studio and make things. The imposed isolation of the past year and the sadness and trauma of the political and social justice issues in my country made for an endlessly long negative news cycle that is addictive. I like to try and take a walk in nature everyday – to counteract all the negative news. I also make an effort to stay connected to friends and family. I feel fortunate in my current circumstance - living and working in a rural spot with my partner who is also an artist. I know many people who have been very alone and are still struggling with this new reality.

Where do you get your inspiration from in these times?

The year in lockdown has meant less travel, no social events, few commitments – thus more time for contemplation, reading, listening to music, watching movies and zoom lectures from all parts of the globe – people I would never get to see or hear from activist, philosopher Angela Davis to our new Vice President Kamala Harris as well as talks by artists and curators and activists. It’s been more of a learning period than a creative period, but the world has changed so dramatically, so swiftly – many of my former ideas felt irrelevant to me and I needed to regroup. I generally feel frustrated or panicked when I’m not working regularly, but this has been such a fertile period for thought I’m just now beginning to untangle it and make new work.

What are you working on at the moment?

I don’t like to talk about ideas in progress, but a general description of the work is that it’s about divesting … dispensing of pre-conceived ideas, getting rid of objects, thoughts, people, cutting through the extraneous crap, trimming the fat, trying to get to the essence of something. Much of the incredible race related writing I’ve been reading talks about divesting of whiteness. If you’re a white person in the United States and you want to be part of a changing future you must be prepared to give up certain things that are taken for granted. I know I’m not the only person who has real questions about the values of the “before times”. I think we all want to emerge into a world that aspirs to be a better place.

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