Studio Visit: James Simon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
When James Simon moved into a three-story warehouse in the Uptown section of Pittsburgh in 2000, the area was much different than it is now. Simon said his street, Gist Street, was a hangout for sex workers, and the neighborhood had a dangerous reputation.
with the help of many of its students.
About 150 Laurel Highlands students functioned as assistants to Pittsburgh-based artist and teaching artist-in-residence James Simon as the crew brought to life a work that Simon conceived and constructed during his residency at the school this year.
Celebrated Pittsburgh artist and sculptor James Simon is known locally for his larger-than-life sculptures and installations around town, like the Liberty Avenue Musicians or his colossal, kaleidoscopic mosaics that welcome people to Braddock and Uptown.
This time around, he’s making penguins—45 of them, in fact—to be installed throughout Allentown, Beltzhoover and Knoxville this summer.
It was a sneak peek of the soon-to-reopen $6.95 million remake of Perry Harvey Sr. Park in a quiet corner of downtown Tampa by the interstate — part history museum, part artwalk, part barbecue-grill-and-basketball-court community park. The place is remarkable not just for what's new or what's there to do, but also for what's there for the remembering.
James Simon really gets into the head of his subjects.
His entire body can fit inside the cranium of the 16-foot concrete saxophone player he is putting the final touches on.
This sculpture is part of a commission from the city of Tampa. Included are a 16-foot female bass player cradling her instrument, two 9-foot dancers doing the twist, two 6-foot dogs and a large jukebox. They are intended to be placed at the entrance to Perry Harvey Park in Tampa.
James Simon wants to show Pittsburgh that public art can be a tool for urban By Nikki Pena / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
renewal. For proof, all he has to do is point out his window.
"Public art is my profession," he said. "I am someone who believes that public art is good for a neighborhood and city."
Mr. Simon, 59, started a project more than 10 years ago, Art on Gist Street, which has helped put the Bluff back on the map. More people are paying attention to the once-deteriorating area a couple of blocks east of UPMC Mercy. Passers-by wonder what will show up next.
“I think all of the partners, artists and residents involved are inspired by the way these projects are supporting each other in such a collaborative way. It’s not every day you get to see and experience the power of organizations and residents working alongside to achieve common goals.”
Cleveland Museum Of Art members go on A public art tour of Cleveland.
Wonderful dedication of the new public art sculpture, "Chattanooga Music Man" by James Simon this morning in North Chattanooga. Congratulations to Public Art Chattanooga and everyone involved! - with Dan Bowers in North Chattanooga, TN.
The sculpture was made possible by an Art in the Neighborhoods grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation and support from County Commissioner Warren Mackey and numerous private individuals, organizations and businesses.
"Art And Inspiration" with James Simon ---William Rock interviews a diverse selection of artists, mystics, healers, wrestlers, and in general inspiring human beings- promoting the arts as a universal dialogue for humanity - for Jame Simon interview click on
Urban Ghosts Media is best described as an offbeat online magazine about abandoned places, hidden history and alternative travel.
From traditional to avante-garde, art is a ubiquitous component of the urban landscape. Taking a broad definition of "urban art", Urban Ghosts features a wide variety of unique works from thought-provoking individuals, with a focus on recycled art created from discarded objects - which fits neatly with our coverage of the abandoned and the re-purposed.
In between Fifth Avenue and the Boulevard of the Allies, in a section called Uptown, sculptor James Simon has helped turn around a depressed area with his introduction of fun, lively and witty art. That has led to a mini-revival that continues to spread through Uptown. The sculptures are Simon's, while the paintings are by artists he has brought in from as far as Mexico, as well as interns and students. All this sprung from Simon's purchase of three-story brick building, where he houses his studio, on Gist St. after returning to Pittsburgh from Sao Paolo to care for his parents. (Look for the festival in August celebrating this neighborhood.) To read more about James Simon, see this Pop City article.
By Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
James Simon gathered lumps of clay and molded them by hand. Slowly, he fashioned a 6-foot-tall statue of St. Michael the archangel and cast it in concrete.
The new memorial, which honors Pittsburgh police officers Paul Sciullo II, Stephen J. Mayhle and Eric G. Kelly, will be dedicated Monday, exactly two years from the day these men died in the line of duty in Stanton Heights.
St. Michael will be unveiled outside Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph Church on Liberty Avenue in the center of Bloomfield. Set in a small park with trees and a garden, the sculpture stands on a three-tiered base decorated with ceramic tiles that bear the officers' images. Behind the statue is a stainless-steel shield made by Forms+Surfaces, an international company with an office in Etna.
"Simon's sculptures have brought an eclectic and joyous spirit to the historic district of Pittsburgh"
If Eve Picker knew how to take no for an answer, the sleek, three-story loft building that she slipped into a narrow lot in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh would be quite a different place. The 20-foot setback would be gone, and with it a bustling courtyard cafe. A second staircase and an elevator would have consumed living space that, given the building's 18-foot width, was already at a premium. Plans for an arresting glass facade would have been scrapped in favor of a faux-historical front done in standard-issue brick.
Art from the Heart
The new tile mosaic that 'appeared' over the winter holidays on the sixth floor of AEO's 77 Hot Metal corporate offices is fun to look at - it's even more fun to learn about
In an effort that combines artistry and charity, the "Blue Jean Mosaic" began its life with a grant from the AE Foundation to the Braddock Youth Project. It's a summer program that employs teens from Braddock, Pennsylvania. Braddock has the highest percentage of youth living in poverty in Allegheny County (the County that includes the City of Pittsburgh, and AEO's South Side Campus at Hot Metal).
Braddock Youth Project teens have three focus areas: the arts, communications and urban gardening. The project paired the Braddock teens, AE Associates and sculptor James Simon. Mr. Simon is a Pittsburgh-based recognized sculptor who has more than two decades of sculpture work which has been displayed worldwide.
They're supposed to be a secret until a week from tomorrow, but have you ever tried to keep three 15-foot musicians a secret on Liberty Avenue?
James Simon and John Fleenor have spent the past month hauling hollow, 500-pound concrete pieces Downtown in a pickup truck, hoisting them into place, and finally pouring the buckets of concrete that will make sure this band doesn't quickly leave its stage. They labored 15 months in Simon's Uptown studio before that, Fleenor having relocated from Oregon to help out.
"We did everything with the capability we had in our world," Simon, 48, said.
Liberty Avenue Musiciansby James Simon 2003
These animated figures were created as a sculptural entryway into the courtyard of a three story building designed by EDGE studio. The figures are made of steel-reinforced concrete and stained an earthy color to relate to adjacent buildings. These three players are a tribute to Pittsburgh's role in music history.
Kurt Shaw, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
From the article: Among the works in a variety of media, visitors will find some unique, even powerful pieces, such as James Simon's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," a sculptural relief work made of polymer clay that depicts a band of good ol' boys playing a tune to a parading tank that tramples citizens on the streets of Baghdad.
Sao Paulo Brasil
In Vila Madalena our art director ofeditorials describes anartist sulptor son of the North American Counter-culture-By Ricardo Cruz
"Without labels its art" says artist and performerJose Roberto Aguilar friend of the North American sculptor. He's Gisnburgh! He's Burroughs! He's Kerouak! He's the Greatful Dead! Ther is nothing more pure, this is underground art says Aguilar.
Pop City Online Development News
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When the skies poured rain just as the Rev. John Dinello sprinkled holy water on the new memorial to three police officers slain two years ago, he told the crowd that it appeared that "God has already given his blessing."
Hundreds of people -- including many police officers and government officials -- packed St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bloomfield for the Mass and dedication ceremony. Although the statue of St. Michael the Archangel -- patron of police officers -- appears to stand on church property, the tiny memorial garden is a separate nonprofit corporation. The land was donated by both the city and the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh region is a bastion of local pride.You'll see a glimpse of it as you cross the Rankin Bridge to enter the borough of Braddock and are greeted by a stunning 10-by-12- foot mosaic mural which spells our the words, "Welcome To Historic Braddock" in bits of sparkling mirror,tile,stone,and stain glass - Pittsburgh,Uptown Sculptor James Simon and the "Braddock Youth Project" unveiled the mosaic in the summer of 2007.
Uptown resident and artist James Simon has been pivotal in his contribution to the Uptown community's evolution. In 2007, as a volunteer, James helped incorporate Uptown Partners of Pittsburgh, working closely with the Duquesne University Law Clinic and the community, and became a founding UP board member. He has served on greening, arts, and housing and economic development committees, was the UP Board Secretary and is now Co-President. He has served on the Uptown Vision Plan team, worked with Leadership Pittsburgh on our first community festival in 2009, and has volunteered to plan and help implement it since…even volunteering to design the street festival brand. He inspired the Pittsburgh Association for the Deaf (PAD), a decades old social club on the corner of his block, to join the event. For the first time, PAD opened its doors to the community to host poetry readings and sell food on the street. James also donated hours of his time and energy on photo production for our first website, www.uptownpartners.org.