“Artist A. Sims reached out to me recently in hopes of sharing the story of his life over the last couple months on our website. After hearing what he had gone through, I wholeheartedly agreed to share his story here. This story will inspire all struggling artists to continue pushing toward their goals and never giving up on their dreams. I thank A. Sims for sharing his story and letting us publish it here at Downtown 500.” – Adam Yarsinsky
“From June 23rd, 2019 to what is now August 8th, 2019 has been a critical period of my life as an artist. Therefore, I am writing an article of humility, dignity, and above all, honesty. I hope as you read this you will begin to measure your own success by the insight and wisdom your failure brings to you. No amount of money can fix what is broken in most of us and no amount of recognition will satisfy us enough to no longer desire that which we do not have.
Before I continue I would like to provide a short background of who I am. My name is A. Sims and I am a 20 year-old artist from Memphis, TN. My art is the depiction of a dynamic understanding of the two juxtapositioning balances of nature ‘extemporized dichotomies.’ Growing up I was not accepted by my white, black, or hispanic peers, thus creating my perspective of ‘the individual,’ which is a focus in my work. I was in and out of specialeducation speech courses as well as in accelerated learning courses throughout elementary school. My life at home was poor and paycheck to paycheck during the weekdays, but on weekends I spent my time with my best friend in a stable middle-class environment learning how to invest, sell, and other skills needed to survive financially in the world. These various opposing forces of nature would create me to be a very impressionable, fatherless, artist. With this in mind, my life’s motivation then and now is to become the self-made man I dreamed of becoming. Heavily influenced by people such as Basquait, Tesla, Mod Sun, Russ, and several other self-made men, this concept still remains with me today as part of my artistic drive and perspective that ‘if anyone desires something all they have to do is create it.’
Now, to continue where I left off, it was June 23rd when I experienced my first magazine release. I had a couple grand in my bank account, a beautiful girlfriend, and loving friends; I was on top of the world, displaying my art to collectors and local influencers. I finally got to witness my first magazine release party. I was only 20 years-old with all the beautiful amenities life could offer.
Let’s fast forward two weeks.
My mother is falling behind on bills. A deer hits my car. My phone is completely destroyed. Our home’s electricity gets cut off. My mom is on the verge of being evicted. Realizing I had a choice to make, I gave my mom all the savings I had acquired over the past three years. Thursday, July 11th, I get off work broke, hungry, and homeless. In a panic, I tell my girlfriend I’m driving to New York City come that Friday night. She immediately hopped in her car and drove 8 hours from Dallas, TX to Memphis, TN. I got off work on Friday and we headed out come early evening. It was non-stop 16 hour drive, driving all through the night; we only stopped for food, gas, restroom breaks, and to switch out the driver’s seat to allow each other to rest.
Around 6:30pm, the following day, we finally arrive in New York. Immediately, we walk into BJ Spokes Art Gallery. I approached a man dressed in all white with a long beard and introduced myself. He then directed me to another man dressed in all black who has since become one of my greatest artistic connections within the NY area.
The next day, I immediately hit the streets of the city and went to places suggested by different artists I met online via Twitter. While wandering, I met a man who had been selling his artwork successfully on the streets and he taught me how he did it. I returned Monday and attempted to imitate what I was shown before the police approached me and schooled me on the rules and regulations of which I was not abiding by. They decided to give me a break so I packed my art up and headed back to my car. Defeated my first day as a street artist, I began to realize returning back to Memphis was imminent. I then started strategizing my return to NYC and enjoyed the rest of my time there with my girlfriend. After returning to my hometown of Memphis, it was only a short time before I was back in my car and headed to Dallas, TX for a weekend show. On my way to Dallas, July 26th, I received a text telling me my girlfriend was in a car wreck. Sick to my stomach, I called her dad and learned she had broken her wrist but was brought to the hospital and doing okay. She joined me at my show the following day where I met a few people and made more connections to plan for the future in Dallas. By the end of that week I had another show in Memphis, TN.
Fast-forward some more and now I sit in Memphis at my friend Chase’s house writing this article in an effort to inspire someone. I refuse to go back to where I came from and will only accept greatness. I challenge you all to do the very same. My story is nowhere near complete as I am still not financially stable and I am in the process of moving to Dallas. I will also make note that everything I have stated has happened in under two months and although I am far from comfortable these decisions have all felt right. I believe in myself to the furthest extent. If you made it this far in the article I hope you stick with me on my journey to becoming a successful artist. Even though I do not technically have a place to live and little money, I still have the same friends that have been with me from the beginning and that means more than any dollar amount I could possibly receive.
August 23rd I will be in Denton, TX for another art show and moved to Dallas.
My journey will continue .”
– A. Sims