Los Angeles, CA

ssimpson.la@gmail.com

ssimpsonwsimpson.com

Education

1999            California Institute of the Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Experimental Animation  

 1993            Brown University, Bachelor of Arts, Honors in Visual Art           

Co-Artistic Director of Automata,  an arts organization dedicated to the creation and presentation of puppet theater and related forms.

Grants and Awards

2017   Jim Henson Foundation Production Grant

2014   Center for Cultural Innovation Investing In Artists Grant    

2012   Center for Cultural Innovation and Durfee Foundation Matching Funds Grant    

2009  Jim Henson Foundation Project Grant    

2008   Center for Cultural Innovation Investing In Artists Grant    

2007   Multi-Arts Production Fund Grant

2001, 2005, 2007   Durfee Foundation  Artist Completion Grant    

2006  Creative Capital Grant    

2003 The California Community Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship        

2002 The Richard E. Sherwood Award

 

Performance

2017            A Machine for Living ( puppet play in development )

                     Workshops conducted at Automata in Los Angeles, June 2016 and 2017

                     Premieres in 2018

2014 -15    Augustine September: Artist in Residence (a traveling performance installation)

                               Opening of New/Net, Ace Hotel, Los Angeles         

                                          Tongva After Dark: Wonder Room, Santa Monica 2014

                               Live Arts Exchange Festival, Los Angeles                                                                                                           

                               Bright Light Night Festival, Rosemead                       

                               The Far East Plaza, Los Angeles (July-Nov 2014)            

 2014            The Last Act of Lilka Kadison, Falcon Theater, North Hollywood

                       Designed and constructed a toy theater cabinet and series of puppet vignettes for larger stage show.

2008-14      Concrete Folk Variations (Writer, Director, Designer)

                                 Automata, Los Angeles, CA, May 2014

                  The Manual Archives, Los Angeles, CA, 2008-2009

                                 Santa Monica Museum, Santa Monica, CAJuly 2008

                   International Toy Theater Festival, Brooklyn, May, 2008

2010-12        Exhibit A ( Writer, Director, Designer)

                                  NOW Festival, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA (2012)

                    Forum for Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, CA (2010)

                    Rio Hondo College, Whittier, CA (2010)

                    Links Hall, Banners and Cranks Festival, Chicago, IL (2010)

2010             Ineffable Sustenance (Director, Designer),   Performance Installation        

                            Let Them Eat LACMA, LA County Museum of Art

2010             Питер-Burg (Co-Director)

                          Theatre Pokoleniy, St Petersburg, Russia

2004-08       Frankenstein: Mortal Toys ( Co-director and Designer with Janie Geiser) adaptation by Erick Ehn

                           HERE Art Center, New York, NY (2008)

            The Velaslavasay Panorama, Los Angeles CA (2006)

            The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Culver City, CA (2004)

 2007          Lead Feet and Nothing Upstairs a History of the LifelikeDirector and Designer)

                          The Manual Archives, Los Angeles, CA           

2005-07    Sunset Chronicles (Co-Director, Co-Designer and ensemble member)

                       Velaslavasay Panorama, Los Angeles, CA           

         Il Corral, Los Angeles, CA            

         Noah Purifoy Foundation, Joshua Tree, CA

 2001           Pseudoflora  (Director and Designer)           

                       The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Culver City, CA

 

Visual Art

Solo Shows and Installations     

2017               The Infinite Library,  A public art commission for Crenshaw-Imperial Library, Inglewood, CA

                        A sculptural cabinet containing dioramas and peepshows exploring the  expansiveness nature of libraries

 2013               Interstitial  Infinite , The Digital Mural Project, Culver Center for the Arts, UC Riverside,

                        A kinetic window installation generating live feed video for a jumbotron

 2009             Dreamers, Thank You. Come Back Again: The Work of Susan Simpson           

                        Exhibition at Sheehan Gallery, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

 Group Shows

 2009                The Future Imaginary , Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College, Los Angeles

Ongoing           Homesick For the World, collaboration with writer Janet Sarbanes           

                          Home and Garden, Viralnet Curatorial Project

 

Design Projects

 2016         One Bus at a TimeHuntington Library and Gardens, San Marino, CA

                  Designed and fabricated of a multi-panel three dimensional map illustrated with children's drawings of  the Huntington                                           

                  Part of a campaign to raise funds to provide transportation for field trips to The Huntington.

2015          The Readers Chorus, at Automata in Los Angeles

                  Visual Designer (including costumes and musical scores)  

2015            Mobile Display Cabinet, Huntington Library and Gardens, San Marino, CA

                    Designed and oversaw fabrication of 2 folding mobile display cases

2014           Augustine September: Artist in Residence, The Far East Plaza, Los Angeles

                  Designed and built a kiosk with puppet stages, display case and peepshows

 

Community Based Public Arts Projects

 2012-13            Second Campus Photomural,  Huntington Library and GardensSan Marino, CA

                          Lead in the creation a 700ft photomural featuring 220 portraits of students from three East Los

                          Angeles schools, holding photos they had taken in their neighborhoods.

 2014-15            Harmony Project,  Huntington Library and Gardens, San Marino, CA           

                         Lead students from two schools in the collaborative creation of multimedia

                         mosaics for exhibition for the opening of The Huntington's Education Center

 Film

2008                Boll Weevil Days, Director/Designer           

                          Rotterdam International Film Festival, 2005

                          Seattle International Film Festival, 2006

                          MadCat Film Festival 2006,

                          OutFest Los Angeles, 2006

                          Yerba Buena Center, SF, 2008

2016          Inconsolable Objects (Director and Designer) for The Los Angeles Peephole Cinema, June 2016-August 2017

                  A short, silent animated film about unrest at home

2017         ALARM  (Director and Designer)  for The Peephole Cinema at Ann Arbor Film Festival 2017

                       A short, silent animated film about quiet panic

Press

KCRW, May 6, 2014, Formally Excavating the Past, on Opening the Curtain by Anthony Byrnes

Hyperallergic, May 14, 2014 Hard-Boiled Wooden Puppets, Alicia Eler

L.A. Weekly Blog, April 25, 2013 Silver Lake's Gay Rights History...As Told by Puppets, by Anna Jones  

LA Weekly Pick5 Artsy Things to do in LA, April 25, 2013 Rules for Radical Puppets 

Stage and Cinema, August 1, 2012“Best Be On Your Avant-Garde”, Tony Frankel,

Flaunt, Issue 106, Fall 2010, "Radical Puppeteers: Susan Simpson, Janie Geiser and The Experimental Theater Art of Automata" Interview by Sylvia Sukop

The Los Angeles Times, May 17, 2009, “Puppet Masters are not Toying Around” by Holly Myers

L.A. Weekly, March 14, 2008, "Concrete Folk Variations: Death of a Sugar Daddy" by Amy Nicholson

New York Times, Jan 14, 2008, "Down Sized: Eerie Tale Of a Man and His Monster"

by Rachel Saltz

Los Angeles Times, Dec 15, 2007 “Expressive Puppetry Bring 'Frankenstein' to Life” by David Ng

L.A. Weekly, December 13, 2007 “Frankenstein (Mortal Toys): Small Wonder” by Holly Willis

Backstage West, June 13, 2007 "Lead Feet and Nothing Upstairs", by Jennie Web

Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2007, “Mythmaking for Adults” by Kathy Foley

Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2007, "Propagating Puppets" by Diane Haithman

American Theatre, February 2005, “Size Matters” by Melinda Barlow

Los Angeles Times, June 2005, “Thinking Really Small Pays Off” by Brenda Rees

 

Teaching

Selected courses taught at California Institute of the Arts over the past 15 years:

 The Manual Mechanical - a practical course in constructing mechanical toys

 Constructing Performing Objects - a practical course in constructing puppets

 Decoys, Dolls and Dummies: Animated Objects in Contemporary Performance, Media and Visual Art

 Objects High and Low: The History of Puppet Theater in the U.S.