Today: Jun 18, 2024

Artist draws inspiration from the everyday person

JON MORENOArts & Entertainment Editor

Simpini said he values the friendships he’s gained over his years at Southern.

Manny Simpini is a graphic design major here at Southern. He said what he feels separates him from other artists would be his ability to draw and relate his work to people. “Ultimately, the work we do is people,” he said. He was born in West Africa and speaks four different languages, which ultimately adds to his diversity in art with his knowledge in culture. Despite already knowing four languages, he still hopes to one day travel the world.
Q. Take us back to the first moment when you realized that art is a lane for you? Were you always a natural at it or did you have to work at your craft before getting to the level you are now?
A. Art is something that I always did since I was in middle school. I would always draw.
And I was never good at too many things but people seemed to like my work and the more people commented on my work, the more I realized that I wanted to do something with art.
I started to research what career paths I could take with art.
Graphic design allowed the most creative control and also didn’t involve too much math. laughs
Q. Who are some of your favorite artists and how have they influenced you artistically or personally?
A. I like many artists but the two that I tend to always relate to are Banksy, the famous graffiti artist and the great Frida Kahlo.
I tend to be inspired by the artists that people most always overthink.
I see their work as them trying to explain their views on society and the fact that they’re so creative always draws me to their works.
Q. What do you hope comes out of all this? Is this something that you see staying as a hobby or is this something that eventually can become a career path for you?
A. I hope to learn more about art, graphic design.
But ultimately, I want to pursue this as a career and also as lifelong hobby.

Photo courtesy Manny Simpini
Simpini has modeled for various fashion shows on campus.

Q. What is your advice to other artists who may hit a mental block when they try to create a project? What do you personally do when you struggle to get what you have in your mind out on paper?
A. I mostly turn to music and Google. Music allows me to think clearly at times.
And Google allows me to look at others’ work and how they went about it, in turn leading me to a way to get my work out in the end.
Q. Are there any places people can go and check out your artwork?
A. I am working on a website but mostly I post things from time to time on Facebook. When the website is ready, I’ll let people know.
Q. What is something about you that most people don’t know? It can be art-related or not.
A. What most people do not know about me is the fact that I speak four different languages and I was born and raised in Togo, West Africa.
Q. If it wasn’t for being able to express your creativity through art, how do you think life would’ve turned out for you? Would there possibly be something else that took up a lot of your time or you simply just have no idea?
A. Well in another part of my life, I see myself as a successful football (soccer) player but I don’t know yet. I still haven’t given it up so time will tell.
Q. Tell us one moment in your art career where you realized that this is something that is a passion and not just something to do to kill time.
A. I realized that I had a passion for this because about a great percentage of communication is visual.
Since people remember more what they see than what they actually do, I would always think up ways to get people to see what I just witnessed or what I was thinking, whether it was a sketch or even a quote.
And this state of mind slowly became an everyday thing. I guess that’s why.
Q. What are your plans once you graduate from Southern?
A. Once I graduate Southern, I plan on working part time and also pursuing a series of internships to master my craft.
And maybe, hopefully, work for a great design firm and maybe even travel the world.

Photo courtesy Manny Simpini
Simpini has been drawing since middle school.

Q. What is your fondest memory here and what would you like to tell the Southern body for those who don’t know you?
A. My fondest memory here is being able to meet people who were surprisingly like myself and becoming good friends with them.
Southern is an experience that only you can control and if you’re like me, it will stick with you long after you graduate.

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