This summer sees the launch of Rich Simmons’ third solo show at Imitate Modern. ‘Kryptonite’ takes the classic superhero theme with the artist’s own characteristic twist, looking at the inner conflicts and public perceptions of the ultimate comic-book characters. Aptly titled ‘Kryptonite’, in reference to Superman’s iconic weakness, Simmons encapsulates this notion of personal struggles, both in time-honoured superheroes and heroes that we find in our everyday lives.

The idea of finding strength by overcoming weakness is important to Simmons, who artfully uses these well-known figures to tell this story; by portraying the challenges superheroes face, be it emotionally, romantically or sexually, he enables people to relate to these normally impenetrable characters.

With admiration, Simmons explores our real life heroes, portraying a member of the armed forces with a superman shadow. His witty sense of humour comes through in a number of his artworks, but he maintains a sombre tone of respect and awe in this particular piece. Inspired by, and in support of, charities such as ‘Help for Heroes’, this show recognises and celebrates the sacrifice and courage of people who are heroic in their everyday lives.

Simmons has become a collectors’ favourite, with his work consistently increasing in value as he expands his portfolio. As we look forward to upcoming solo shows in London and New York, Simmons is developing into a recognisable star of the urban art world.

Rich Simmons is well-known for pushing the boundaries of artistic techniques and exploring new styles, and the ‘Kryptonite’ collection is no exception. His debut solo show ‘Just Be You Tiful’ showcased intricate stencil designs and dropshadowing, to produce artwork of countless layers, highlighting the incredible depth of each piece. Using reclaimed billboards, Simmons has fused his origins in street art onto canvas, especially seen in ‘The Inner Outsider’ which took a more personal tone, further exploring many layered stencils and provocative imagery.

‘Kryptonite’ takes his artwork into another dimension, with Simmons pioneering yet another difficult technique, in creating pieces that can be viewed through 3D glasses, leaping off the canvas. This collection debuts a retro comic book style, produced using a new stencilling technique, while remaining true to the inspirational artwork of the golden era of comics.

Somewhere between ‘Transformers’ and ‘Iron Man’, the world has realised that superheroes are a strong investment and, as an industry, are experiencing a renaissance. With ‘The Dark Knight’ grossing over $1billion, Marvel becoming part of Disney and the successful return of Thor and Captain America, it is clear that superheroes no longer represent a niche interest. Famous fans include Jonathan Ross, Rosario Dawson, Samuel L. Jackson and Megan Fox, dispelling the myth that comic books are just for boys. As Simmons takes inspiration from a childhood passion, we are excited to become part of this iconic industry with ‘Kryptonite’.