Visual artist Deon Simone describes her recently released mini-series entitled Woman as her tribute to a 360 experience, coming full circle from birth and being impacted by strong influences at home, school and work. “I grew up in a single-parent household with all females, my mom and two older sisters. I went to an all-girls high school. Both of my art teachers were female, and they encouraged me to pursue art,” she told Flair.
This influence has extended into her professional life. While at work, she was afforded the opportunity to network and meet with distinguished female entrepreneurs and collaborate with organisations like Kingston Creative, a female-led charity. “I owe much of my career to the connections I made with like-minded women. And so I felt the need to celebrate them in this series,” the artist added.
How to present the female form is a concern Simone consistently deliberated on. She began fixating on a big topic and struggle among the gender: hair texture. With certain hairstyles labelled as inappropriate for school and unprofessional for the workplace, the artist went to work making a social commentary on the matter, highlighting each of her subjects with beautiful kinky manes.
Starting in late 2021, the innovator, led by intuition, completed her mission three months from November. The effervescent vision of bold strokes and brilliant colours resulted in seven divine pieces within the mini-series: ‘Enlightened’, ‘Empowered’, ‘Bloom’, ‘Golden Thoughts’, ‘Self Love’, ‘Critical’, and ‘Freeing’.
“‘ Empowered’, ‘Enlightened’ and ‘Bloom’ are by far my favourites. I enjoyed the surprise element. I did not have a plan before, but it turned out beautifully. When women see this, I want them to feel a sense of pride, freedom and positivity. I use a lot of vibrant colours in the series to draw the viewer’s attention and have an emotional connection with them,” she said.
The liberating ‘Freeing’ came together seamlessly, according to the creative. After a few splatters and splashes, she was happy that the subject came to life on canvas. Simone also believes that most viewers can relate to ‘Self Love’, noting, “At first glance, you will know what this piece is saying. The most difficult to complete was ‘Empowered’ because it contains the most details.”
This would be her first major body of work since creating a series she entitled Blue back in 2020. With COVID-19 slowing income streams, cutting auctions or exhibitions and reducing art purchases, she went through a mini pandemic-related depression. There was no better way to combat the doom and gloom than to take a step back, regroup and let passion and imagination prevail. Thoughts of art diversity, like the art of T-shirts and water bottles, even entered the chat. But nothing strikes a balance of novelty and harmony quite like her mini-series.
Simone hopes that these acrylic paintings on canvas will foster thought-provoking and stimulating conversations surrounding the strength, beauty and liberty of the Woman.
Deon Simone’s artwork may be found on Instagram, @deonsimoneart.