Lee Simmonds graduated with a BFA and First Class Honours from the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, England. Earlier education includes an FE from University of the Creative Arts in Farnham, England. Simmonds would describe his current visual practice as a sardonic rumination on the chronic boredom that comes from growing up in suburbia. He is drawn to the drabness and mundanity: ripe material to be turned on its head and taken into the absurd. Despite Simmonds calling his work ‘figurative,’ he would describe his process as fairly akin to that of the abstract painter. Characters and props appear and disappear through the investigative process of producing a work, in a way that is largely determined by the abstract wholeness of the piece, as opposed to lucid narrative exposition. Simmonds strives for his work to avoid facile readings and evade his own understanding (to an extent!). When he is not painting, he is most likely involved in theatre-making, whether it be through acting or writing, and he is often seeking new ways in which his two practices can converge.
Group exhibitions include Ruskin Degree Shows at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford (2019), New College Arts Week Exhibition at Warden’s Barn, New College, Oxford (2019), ‘Ensemble Fictions’ Brown’s Café, Oxford (2019), Cass Art Festival at OXO Tower Wharf, London (2017), National Open Art: Mercers’ Hall, London and Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2016), Artsdepot Annual Exhibition at Artsdepot, London (2016), Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Mall Galleries, London (2016), BP Portrait Awards, National Portrait Gallery, London, Scottish Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Ulster Museum, Belfast (2015), Royal Academy Online Summer exhibitor (2014), Royal Academy Online Summer exhibitor (2013).
Awards include the Ruskin-Christchurch A4 Prize Winner for work in Degree Shows (2019), selected as one of 31 students worldwide Saatchi’s Rising Art Stars (2019), First Prize winner for the MS Amlin Young Artist Award (National Open Art) (2016), and Winner of the Regional ‘Kickstart’ competition (2014).