born in london in 1947, neil simone began his career by studying graphic design. after working in this field for several years, he was first inspired to begin painting after a visit to the vast and beautiful landscapes surrounding harrogate, yorkshire, in 1969. simone quickly found admiration for his highly skilled depictions of landscapes and still lifes, and moved to harrogate to pursue a career as a full-time artist.
in the years following his move to full time art, simone found himself experimenting, searching for the subject and style that would allow him to express himself as he wished. after working with a variety of techniques, he finally found his artistic calling after the birth of his first child. this time of reflection led him to begin creating depictions of the impossible.
the years that simone had spent experimenting and refining his skill now brought their full reward, as he was able to create works of great depth and complexity, capturing his visions of an impossible world and sharing them with the viewer, in the stunning surrealist style for which he is now well-known.
simone still lives in yorkshire, near the area that first inspired him to create art. he has his own gallery, the chapel gallery, and he exhibits with his wife heather, also an artist.
simone’s work classes him as one of the few artists whose style can be immediately recognised by a viewer who has seen it only once before. a fascinating blend of surrealism and optical illusion, simone creates dreamlike worlds which layer his own artwork with imagined surroundings.
he first developed his unique style after looking at one of his canvases and imagining the artwork spilling out into the room around it. he then painted the scene as he saw it, mixing reality with his vision. this concept is now the focus of his artwork, as well as his artistic ethos: seeing the world as boundaries, shadows and contradictions.
his “painting with a painting” style utilises his high skill at creating realistic portrayals of landscapes and still lifes; a canvas of a winter landscape may be depicted floating over the same scene in summer, for example, each line of the hills and trees matching up perfectly. other scenes may show the elements of the scene painted pouring out from a canvas back into the world around it, as simone first imagined.
while he does lean toward realism for his light, composition and colour choices, simone is not a hyperrealist when representing his visualised scenes. he uses a slightly more painterly approach when it comes to brushwork, serving as yet another level of commentary on the involvement of the painter’s perspective in each artwork.