The world around us is truly a prolific and constant work of art. Perhaps just as prolific as life itself, Charles Simms’ body of work is like falling into a rabbit hole of glimpses. His uncanny ability to see clearly into the apex of a story unfolding before him prevails in his huge body of work.
Over the past few months I have gotten to know Charles well, and I can tell you he has an amazing story that you need to hear about. His unique eye, his ability to see the world in a particular place, a place of wanting and social exclusion, a place of desired comfort and hard edges, is something we can all relate to–but few of us know as intimately as Charles Simms. In the past two years of my editorship, I have run into some inspiring stories; and I have had many fond moments as I saw how Literary Orphans Journal has become exactly what it has set out to be, a home for the orphan in all of us. Charles Simms possibly tops them all–and while he doesn’t want to cop to the term “artist,” as you will discover in his interview, I don’t know of anyone more qualified to bear that title.
More than this–Charles is a bit of a hometown hero for those of us that grew up in the liminal spaces of Chicago–where the grid-line shadows meet the Wisconsin hills and Western cornfields. The beautiful photography is very familiar to us–not just the scenery and cityscapes and farmland, but the expressions on the faces of those ghosts that float around them. Their faces are faces that still remember–still have the stories of the 50s on their tongues, the stories of their predecessors that came to the middle of nowhere in an effort to be somebody, to be something. This idea of striving to be is captured flawlessly in Simms’ photography, and it is this striving to be that most sums up not only Charles Simms, not only Literary Orphans Journal, not only Chicago and the Midwestern rust belt, but much of the United States as we know it. The work of Come-back-Charlie is a calling home, and a calling to a struggle for a better life.
Charles has a wonderful website in which you can help support his craft by purchasing amazingly high quality prints of his work. Please check out his website here: comebackcharlie.com
The interview Charles did with Literary Orphans is the best artist interview we’ve published. Please make sure you check out this amazing interview before going any further in the issue!