Through oil and acrylic paintings, I visualize psychological states that are too terrifying, grand, or sublime to fathom so that we may get closer to understanding them. I portray my encounters with internalized oppression, self-hatred, and anxiety to give myself and my viewers a feeling of control over these monsters. I imagine how the reality-tearing omnipotence of the Abrahamic God would appear to us. I try to taste the unmatched, everlasting happiness of the great Buddhist masters. In mapping out these extremities of our psychology, I illustrate a sometimes daunting, other times awe-inspiring, psychic universe.

My painting process is both methodical and improvisational. I come into each painting with a specific emotional experience in mind. Before paint touches the canvas, I consider what colors would best evoke that experience, and how the general flow of the brushstrokes can enhance the effect. Paintings are typically made large to invoke overwhelming feelings. As of late, the visual direction of my paintings has shifted toward a Baroque-inspired atmosphere with rich tonal harmonies. Contemplations on death and impermanence are the motivating theme behind my recent work. Moving forward I plan to shift my focus to the nuances and effects of fear. I also want to critique the economic motives behind war and the West’s response or lack thereof to atrocities taking place far away.

 

ONAJE GRANT-SIMMONDS
ONAJE GRANT-SIMMONDS
ONAJE GRANT-SIMMONDS