Local Artist Creates with Pixels, Not Paint
“Digital artist” is a term that is slowly gaining traction in the art world. A trend that Alan Simmons hopes continues. A self-taught artist based in northwest Arkansas, Simmons creates art without traditional graphite or paint and brushes, but with an iPad, an Apple Pencil, and Procreate (a digital illustration app). What began two years ago as a therapeutic experiment has turned into a full-blown passion.
“I used to love drawing as a kid, but I would never have dared to share anything I’d drawn. The genesis of this was my need for a creative outlet, something to get me out of my head. Sharing my work on Instagram is my way of forcing myself out of my comfort zone. I had begun reading about how art therapy was helping people with depression and anxiety, but the idea of sketchbooks and canvases and paints everywhere only made me more anxious,” he jokes. “I was seeing digital artists on Instagram, and it seemed like the right direction for me. Most of my first pieces were just me learning to use Procreate, but once I started, it just snowballed.”
Simmons doesn’t claim any one style or focus on any particular subject. His pieces range from simple to detailed, from abstract to realistic. His work includes an ongoing series of whimsical pieces based on visual wordplay, depictions of nature and architecture, and a newly begun series entitled Bentonville Sunsets that features Bentonville landmarks against a backdrop of dramatic sunsets. The first piece in the series features The Momentary with its iconic canopy and distinctive neon sign reading “You belong here.”
“I know a lot of artists have a signature style, but I like the freedom to create in different styles depending on what I’m feeling or what inspires me in that moment. The sunset series will focus more on detailed, realistic pieces. Working on those minute details is, for me, really calming. Plus, Bentonville is such a beautiful town and I really want to bring attention to that.”
You can find his work on Instagram at @arkansasgrizzly.
Is Named No. 12 on the list of 25 coolest towns
Are you asking yourself, should I move to Bentonville? Bentonville is named No. 12 on Madator Network’s 2019 list of 25 coolest towns in the U.S. Bentonville is steadily attracting businesses, residents, visitors, trained and educated workforce, the population in Northwest Arkansas exceeds 525,000. U.S. News & World Report placed the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area (Northwest Arkansas) at No. 4 on its 2019 list of the Best Places to Live in the U.S. Bentonville was also named on Money’s 2019 list of best places to live in the nation.
Bentonville is part of the heart of Northwest Arkansas. It’s a town with a big heart and even bigger ambition. A town where modern progress meets rich history, where the arts meet innovation, and where companies meet communities. The city also has a quaint downtown lined with bars, restaurants, breweries, and coffee shops, and hosts many events throughout the year, including the annual Bentonville Film Festival.
Commute usually only takes 20-30 minutes to Bella Vista, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale. Some of the world’s largest companies are located in these cities. A couple of examples of some of these companies include Walmart, JB Hunt, and Tyson Foods corporate headquarters.
Downtown Bentonville is where visitors can experience a bygone era at The Walmart Museum at one end of the historic downtown square. It is housed inside Sam Walton’s original 5&10 variety store. This family friendly destination is complete with its original vintage floor tiles and trinkets from the dime store days is like stepping back in time. Here’s a great video on working at Walmart.
Bentonville arts venue the Momentary is 63,000-square-foot satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art which was founded by the Walton family. There is NO COST to view the Crystal Bridges museum’s permanent collection, which is on view year-round. General admission to Crystal Bridges is always free, and is sponsored by Walmart.
Crystal Bridges opened its doors to the public in 2011, and has welcomed close to 5 million visitors, including students, art tourists, and people from all walks of life pinpointing the museum as a go-to destination. The sprawling museum was founded by Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and sits on the 120-acre Ozark forest that offers nature trails with stunning scenery.
Outdoor-oriented folks are in the right place. Bentonville has 22 parks covering 300 acres and over 50 miles of trails. Bentonville was recognized as a bike-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists, and the city is known for its mountain biking destination, Slaughter Pen trails, and for hosting several cycling events each year.
Museum Of Native American History
Is at 202 SW O St Bentonville. Walk through America’s past by viewing artifacts from more than 14,000 years ago! The journey spans five different periods arranged in chronological order of history of the first people of the Americas. Free admission with self guided audio tour.
But the city has more to boast about than being home to a retail giant. Its school district has a 91.8% graduation rate and 54.8% of people living in Bentonville owns their home.
Moving to Bentonville
If you are relocating, buying in, living in, or moving to within the heart of Northwest Arkansas, I highly recommend you taking a look at this relocation guide to help with your move.
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