Alette Simmons-Jimenez is (according to her website) a multidisciplinary artist and designer whose work in video, installation, painting, and sculpture draws inspiration from patterns in the environment. She has exhibited internationally and is the recipient of several grants and awards. And, yes, she is my sister.
Like any other family, when we’re together, we spend a fair amount of time reminiscing. We’re often amazed at how different our memories of the past are. We’ll be laughing about a long ago experience and then one of us will mention something and the other will wonder what in the world they’re describing. We’ll have no recollection whatsoever of the event.
It’s also refreshing to look at the different paths we’ve chosen, despite having shared a common heritage. My mother had a natural gift for the arts, acting, dancing, singing, painting in acrylic, oil, and watercolor, drawing in ink and charcoal, and interior design. To some greater or lesser degree, each of the four children in the family inherited her artistic abilities. As children, we drew or painted constantly, especially in the years before television. My efforts were most often slavish copies of magazine photos, my older sister made lovely pastel paintings, while Alette, the youngest, would mar the page with heavy dark lines. They slashed across the page, crossed over themselves, and spilled into the margin. She had absolute disregard for coloring between the lines (and even the edge of the page). I was too young at the time to understand how much more creativity filled one of those passion-driven, bold color strokes than in my entire rendering.
Alette went on to study art and to dedicate herself to the art world, first in the Dominican Republic where her work caught the attention of local collectors and galleries. After she moved to Miami where she lives today, she opened her own studio, exhibited widely, and gained significant renown. I won’t recount her many installations, showings, and awards, they’re in her CV on her website.
While I favor her oil paintings, especially portraits she did some years ago, like any true artist, she has evolved and works more in mixed media and sculpture today. Nevertheless, her art retains semblances of the past. The warm breezes and colors of the Caribbean flow through her sea-creature-like installations and if you listen closely you can hear the staccato beat of Miami’s South Beach in her twisted wire and metal sculptures. Yet, maybe it’s just me, but I can sense those dark swaths of passion too, just under the surface.
For more on Alette Simmons-Jimenez and her work, visit: http://www.alettesimmonsjimenez.com