Artist Fabian contributes to Bonfire ATL with Making Smoke and Dutch Masters

See what Fabian Simpson has to say about art and the pressure of the gift.

Making Smoke and Dutch Masters teamed up at Bonfire ATL this past Sunday to showcase local, powerful artists who create for the culture. Fabian Simpson is one of the four artists included in a conversation about the universe of art and what inspires them to create.

Artist Fabian contributes to Bonfire ATL with Making Smoke and Dutch Masters
Photo courtesy of Rolling Out.

Share a feeling of creating a masterpiece of work and the emotional connection you have with the creation.


I’m connected to everything I create in some kind of way because art is therapy. Art is a release and an escape. Anybody sitting up here will tell you that the moment we mix the paint to hit the canvas is when the art starts. It’s when the creativity starts because we then check out from the world. No matter where you are, no matter what you do, no matter how you do it, whether you make music, or visual art, whether you write poetry, whether you do dance, it doesn’t matter, in some way, shape or form whenever you start doing what you’re doing, that’s art.

There’s two pieces that I’ve done, that my teacher touched, but she’s no longer with us. I had two art teachers. One was Leonard Dawson and the other one was Ms. Wilson. Now, Ms. Wilson was a lady. She was from the hippie days and Mr. Dawson was a military cat. He started as a Marine and as a head sergeant. Ms. Wilson taught me how to be free and Mr. Dawson taught me how to learn the rules and break them. So, between the two, I was very confused. The two pieces that I created are the two pieces that they touched. One piece is called “B—- Don’t Touch My Hair” and I basically made that piece for all of the women in my life because White women would walk up to them and ask to touch their hair. I always thought that was pretty fascinating.


What has the gift of art done for you?

To whom much is given, much is required. I was pushed to an extent that other people in my class weren’t and they were graduating with an art degree just like I was. But the difference between them and me is my teachers was on my a– about what I was doing when I least expected it and they held me accountable for what I did. Even as a man, that’s rule number one, hold yourself accountable because nobody else will. However, knowing that I had people that actually held me accountable, makes my art mean more to me every time I pick up a brush and paint, because I know that it will affect somebody’s life somewhere down the road.  It has to inspire you.

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