Last week I collaborated with my very talented/photographer husband, Kevin Roche on a piece for The Surfing Heritage Foundation's, "The Simmon's Effect" exhibition (Kevin provided the beautiful center image of Ryan Burch on raw foam). Fully realizing that I will never be an expert on the genius of Bob Simmon's I pondered, "What the heck can I do or say about this pivotal person?". I dove into some research then was struck by the basic humanity of Simmons the "man" & decided to highlight some documented personal quirks with some nods also to scientific and mathematical breaking the bounds of shaping. I am no writer, I say it with images. However, I will do my best to open a window to a few of my thoughts with some pics & descriptions:
Susan Wickstrand & Kevin Roche, "Orange Peels", Orig. collab. collage, Oil, & encaustic on wood panel, 8" x 8", signed & dated on verso
Why oranges? "Simmons has been here, There'd be a stack of orange peels, like he was checking the surf. Then we'd zip up to Rincon, and there would be another stack." the man liked his fresh fruit from the trees of California & canned peaches.
The man lived off of canned peaches too with (free) wooden ice cream spoons in the ash tray of his car, ever the Scotch saving money. His mind & focus were on bigger things.
The one armed prophet atop. After significant injury to Simmon's left arm he had an interesting paddle, so I chopped off the prophet on a pedestal's left arm atop but the right, strongest arm wraps around the back. After growing up at Wind-n-Sea, I've learned, you can tell a lot about the way someone paddles.
* see above, why a one-armed prophet? Circling the entire artwork is a hand painted band of blue a metaphor for water, wave & wind binding it all together, as with the b/w photo of bands of corduroy (middle right). In the far upper left a simplistic barn structure that wraps around to the right with a door "open to the next generation" to follow through breaking down doors of perception with innovation. The barn is a metaphor for his simplistic lifestyle often wanting to design or shape alone, then show up at Malibu with a radical new shape to ride.
*above; I threw in a cheesy "paint by numbers" image dead center/above, because as a painter to someone like me Simmon's broke out of a mold for his craft in shaping/design/science & wave/water theories. To the right of that is a bronze fish. Go check out this artwork & many more amazing treasures for this exhibition and just try not to touch a concave, gorgeous Simmon's board as many are with a honey-golden California hue. Stunning....
Thank you Barry Haun of "The Surfing Heritage Foundation" for the opportunity to participate.