Name: Simone Agoussoye
Location Baltimore, MD
Artist Bio: Simone Agoussoye is a Baltimore-based artist and has been painting, drawing and creating for as long as she can remember. Art has always been an outlet for Simone, a way to express herself and let her emotions out when they got too loud in her head, and words didn’t come quite as easy. Within her art, she has found a peaceful place to center herself and become level when everything around her is chaotic. Each of Simone's work contains a piece of her that she has released and decided to share with those who consume her work. Her specialties are colorful portraits, a mixture of pop art and expressionist elements with spontaneous surrealism.
As an alumnae of the Art Institute of Washington, Simone has utilized the knowledge she has gained to refine her skills and experiment with different techniques, subject matter, and styles. Simone's portfolio is quite expansive and growing, because she is always searching for a new subject to create a collection - animals, people, landscapes, abstract, realistic, expressionist art, etc. She presents her unique point of view by mixing old and new painting techniques with old and new subject matter. Lately, Simone has pursued many methods and styles, like acrylic pouring/fluid art, and some abstract pieces. Her work is influenced by and reflects a lot of the musical influences she grew up listening to - many pop culture icons that she saw on TV or that her parents used to play.
Describe your current experience as an artist.
I am transitioning into becoming a full time artist. Although I do put in 40 hours a week towards my passion, I also have a full time day job and also do community services work as a bible teacher full-time. So needless to say my schedule is pretty busy. Pursuing the goal of become a full-time artist has been fun and challenging however, I find my purpose mostly in my Bible instruction work. However, my purpose as an artist is just a way to connect with people, however I paint for my own purpose. The purpose of getting away from the chaos that life can bring at times and doing so I found myself being able to share with other people hoping to ease the chaos of their life in yet another way.
What is your occupation while you transition into being a full-time artist solely? What prompted your transition?
I work as a HTML Developer and Graphic Designer. The idea of working for myself has always intrigued me and is what has driven me to the goal of transitioning into a full-time artist solely. During this transition I have become aware that painting and drawing is actually something that I could support myself with, and I love it. I’ve had my own graphic design business for years, and am an entrepreneur at heart. So to be able to do something I love, while being in control of my own schedule is a dream. But I’m still working on that transition.
What has been your biggest challenge/obstacle in transitioning and how are you finding ways to manage/overcome it?
The biggest obstacle is turning over enough profit to pay the bills. On the front end there is a lot of investment without equal profit. I’m working to grow my business and explore different avenues of using my skill and art that I can have a reliable and steady stream of income, enough to make that transition.
What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP who is interested in pursuing art full-time and/or transitioning careers?
Transitioning and getting a feel as a full-time artist my tips would be to be patient and LOVE what you do. What’s helped me this far is being patient and really just focusing on my artwork. Also branching out and showcasing my work in a variety of arenas and platforms has helped me to grow.
What is next for you?
I’ve recently started teaching Paint & Sips and I am hosting one on January 21st, which is exciting. It’s my first one that I’m hosting all on my own and hope this leads to many more and maybe an art reception later on in the year.
What does being a "black girl who paints" means to you?
Being a black girl that paints... To me, that means I have a skill that allows me to share my perception and what I find beautiful with others. I don’t really focus on my being black in general, but you can see a lot of my upbringing and reflection of black culture in my work, because I grew up in a predominantly black area to black parents and consumer black culture and media. Therefore, my musical tastes and the subjects of my work sort of reflect that, without my even underscoring or putting emphasis on it.