Simonson in Honolulu, age 28, May 1978
In Honolulu, Simonson continued his study of art at the University of Hawaii. But he was unsatisfied with what he was learning there, and quit after a single semester to study drawing and painting on his own terms. That was the beginning of a lifelong obsession with becoming a more skilled and fully realized artist.
A major shift occurred around 1979 when the artist finally got the courage to begin openly focusing on a subject he felt passionate about, the male figure. Working from his own photographs of friends and lovers, he began drawing and painting the male nude.
About 25, posing with a self-portrait painted after quitting the University of Hawaii and embarking on a self-directed course of study
An early work painted in 1981, soon after Simonson began focusing his art on the male figure
Simonson in his Date Street apartment/studio in 1989. By this point he had been drawing and painting the male figure for about 10 years.
Wa’ahila, a 1988 acrylic painting from a photo shoot with Thai model Michael R. in the mountains above Honolulu
Photo shoot with a model in Hawaii