Initially back in 2006, I received a grant from the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida to execute a series of science-related paintings and mount an exhibition. I contacted MOSH and then director, Michael Oberg, who was very receptive to the project and granted me use of the museum for said exhibition. It was called, Elemental Atmospheres. The primary theme was the Periodic Table.
The museum, under the leadership of Maria Hane, later contacted me back in 2011 (while I was living in Tampa) to do another solo show called the Art of Science: Princess Rashid. In addition to that exhibition, I was able to execute a live and interactive performance with the audience in the JEA Theater. It allowed me to demonstrate and share my painting philosophy, which I call “controlled spontaneity.”
What inspires your body of work?
Making the connection between art and science inspires me greatly.
How do you manage a creative block?
I find journaling and mind mapping very helpful in generating ideas.
Who influences your art?
My two daughters influence my art. The fresh and unencumbered way they approach creating from their imagination inspires me. I’m influenced by a great many artists. I’m a student of art and science history, so I consider many thinkers in these fields as part of my creative lineage.
If you could have dinner with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
I don’t know. I think I would rather have a dinner party like something the late great essayist and novelist James Baldwin would throw in his French chateau, where ideas could pop and flow around us. I would invite the late Mildred Thompson and Alma Thomas. Their interest in science and how they incorporated it in their art suggest that we are kindred spirits. Among the currently living artists, I would invite Torkwase Dyson, Leonardo Drew and Mark Bradford. One major topic of conversation would be the state and future of social abstraction in painting, printmaking, sculpture and architecture.
Tell us about your Wonder Wall and your thought process behind this idea. What is your favorite element of the Wonder Wall?
When we think of creativity we must consider the role the brain plays in how we experience our environment and create our world. The Wonder Wall will be a series of panels on the wall depicting human brain circuitry in relation to visual perception and creativity. The brain is like a universe unto itself. The focuses will be on how we (humans) learn, how creativity is sparked through play and how intuition can be developed with the visual language of symbols and shapes.
There will be a hands-on interactive component of the Wonder Wall for the MOSH Creation Station maker space patrons to participate and create. They will be guided by what they see on the main panels.
Finally, imagery will be projected onto various areas of the Wonder Wall to enhances the multi-sensory experience of the patrons.
So far, my favorite aspect of the creation of the Wonder Wall is the use and repurposing of found materials as textural components of the paintings. I love that I am able to reclaim materials like various types of discarded plastics and papers and give them new life in the artwork. Found materials have served as a catalyst for new ideas and possibilities in the work’s evolution.
How has your style evolved over your entire art career?
I have become much more experimental in practice over time.
What does art mean to you?
To me, art is the highest form of human expression that is in service to the elevation of the human spirit.
What role does art play in our community?
Art should uplift, educate and inspire the community to build of a more empathetic world.
Princess Simpson Rashid is an American painter, printmaker, blogger, art activist, competitive sport-fencer and coach. Her current body of work explores the relationship between color, perception and symbolism. Rashid has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in museums, art centers, galleries and alternative art spaces across the United States including the Pacific Grove Art Center in Pacific Grove, CA, Felix Kulpa Gallery in Santa Cruz, CA, Tempus-Projects in Tampa, FL and the CoRk Art District in Jacksonville, FL.
Installation for Rashid’s Wonder Wall in the MOSH Creation Station will begin on November 15.