“The Great Peacemakers” Featured Artist Steve Simon
Sedona AZ (February 15, 2012) – As part of the ongoing Sedona Public Library in the Village Rotating Artist Series, Steve Simon will be displaying his artwork at the Village location in Tequa Plaza beginning Tuesday, February 21.
Steve Simon recently published his Sedona collection of landscape paintings and poetry in his seventh coffee-table book entitled “The Spirit of Sedona.” In his current collection, the artist is focusing on history’s great peacemakers.
The artist’s father is the inspiration behind the collection. Steve Sr. was imprisoned by the Nazis on Christmas Eve 1944 coming out of a Catholic Christmas Eve mass in a small farm town in Luxembourg. He was taken as a political hostage as part of a series of reprisals against the tiny country’s underground movement. Scheduled to be executed on New Year’s Day, the elder Simon was spared at the last moment and instead sent to a German concentration camp.
The horrific experiences he would endure over the next five months would end with his escape during a “death march” to the Buchenwald extermination camp. When the younger Simon was in sixth grade, his father recounted all he could remember of those dark times. One excerpt stands out for its poignancy.
On the night of his capture, Steve Sr. stood in his extremely cold and cramped jail cell. As he recounted the story to his son, “Suddenly I could hear a lone, drunken German soldier singing ‘Silent Night.’ Imagine listening to the lyrics ‘sleep in heavenly peace’ under those circumstances, knowing you were to be executed despite your innocence.”
The motivation for Steve Jr.’s Great Peacemaker collection finds its kernel of inspiration in this story and is more broadly motivated by the conflict and injustice still so prevalent in the world two generations after the atrocities of World War II. The collection is intended to honor those who have advanced peace from more commonly known luminaries like St. Francis of Assisi and Gandhi to those not as well known or celebrated such as Dekanawida and Abdul Ghaffar Khan.
A reception will be held at the library branch on Wednesday, February 22 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. Steve Simon will deliver a multi-media presentation, featuring videos of the paintings from the collection-in-progress. To preview the collection or sign up for updates as the artist adds new pieces to the collection visit http://www.TheGreatPeacemakers.com.
The Sedona Public Library offers a myriad of programs for all ages and interests. For information about this or other programs as well as the wide variety of services the library offers, please contact Cheryl Yeatts, Site Manager at 928-284-1603 or check out our website at sedonalibrary.org.
Steve Simon was raised outside Chicago by immigrant parents from Luxembourg. As a youth, Simon enjoyed drawing but eventually pursued more technical interests. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Simon practiced engineering in Germany. He later returned to Chicago to work as a management consultant.
While in Chicago, Simon participated in oil painting workshops in the evenings but still did not consider an art career. Still searching for his calling, Simon chose to pursue an MBA in international business during which he studied in Paris, New York, Tokyo, and nine other cities throughout Eastern Europe and Asia. At this point, his travels had brought him to over thirty countries as the cultural exposure continued to fuel the latent artist.
After receiving his MBA, Simon accepted a consulting assignment in Paris. Here he could explore the art world that so intrigued him. In his free time, he visited art museums and painted in his studio apartment in the famous artist’s quarter of Montmartre. Upon completing the Paris assignment, it became clear to him that the artist within must be acknowledged.
It was then Simon made the decision to pursue his real passion. In 1994, at age twenty-nine, he moved to California to start his art career. He has since produced over 300 oil paintings, published seven art books of his art and poetry, created a broad selection of limited edition, canvas giclée prints, and owned an operated his own gallery on scenic Balboa Island, California for eight years.
In 2007, Simon moved to the beautiful Red Rock Country of Arizona. He recently published “The Spirit of Sedona”, a collection of his paintings and poetry of the area’s dramatic landscapes. He resides in Sedona, Arizona with his wife, stepson, and daughter.