His Canvas is Natural Stone
Even though Simmonds focuses mainly on sacred architecture in his works, he points out the way cultures overlap and affect each other in the field of stone carving and miniature architecture. His works often refer to various architectural styles as a monoblock and also from time to time he offers abstract forms. The time it takes for the sculptor to create his work, even though it varies depending on the size and complexity of the sculpture, is usually three to four weeks. Although a sculpture takes weeks to complete, Simmons works meticulously for every detail of the interior. Some of his models depict real structures, like Florence Cathedral, while others mostly are abstract details. His devotion to medieval architecture and the religious structures of this period led him to use mostly marble as a material in Doric columns, arches and vaulted ceilings for his intricate sculptures. The artist begins his creation process by examining the form of each rock to complete style of the sculpture with the natural aesthetics of the stone. Although there are some sculptures of Simmonds which are 450 cm in size, his works are usually 30-50 cm high and are produced in a single block, each obtained from a quarry. Each piece is intricately hand carved into a single block of marble or limestone, and designed to evoke the feeling of a larger space. The artist, who also has more abstract works investigating the use of light in architecture describes his space and light creations with these words: “While I often make works that are historically very specific to just one time and culture, I also try to balance this with less specific and more abstract works that draw on the use of space and light.”
Limitless Expression Language
“I’m not recreating anyone building in particular, but instead looking at the way in which certain architectural trends exist during one particular historical period, then carve it into stone. I look at the language of buildings and create something of my own. I find that working in miniature helps to express this, through the creation of something that can appear monumental even at a small scale” Simmonds explains. He believes that it is stone that is left behind for us to piece together history from and it’s the way cultures leave a sign on the world: “The stone itself has power as a natural material because we essentially have an imprint of history left in every rock. It’s a beautiful material to carve into because the final product is partially by me, and partially made by natüre itself. I feel that the best stones for carving are marble and limestone. These stones allow you to get in all the fine details, but they’re not too hard to carve deep into. They allow for finer, delicate work. Materials like sandstone is not strong enough, while granite is too hard.” His works which has been exhibited in many countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Italy and the USA distinguish him from his peers with his strong architectural language and mastership in stone carving.