Over the last several decades, artist Drew Simpson has been honing his craft and mining the iconography of diseased aristocracies. Simpson is an individualist whose heroes — mountain men, glam metal musicians, fallen celebrities and abominable snowmen — are renegades that have carved their own paths despite adversity. In the Drew Simpson universe, recurring figures and symbols — hockey masks, tribal tattoos, prosthetic limbs, the early pioneers, and other totems of the harsh North American landscape — serve as emblems in one way or another for freedom. His juxtaposing and often dream like paintings nod to carefully studied artists such as Baechler, Twombly, Baselitz and Basquiat. The Great White North weighs heavy in Simpson’s mind, a symbol of the frontier where ‘new territory’ represents the chance to reinvent oneself. Notions of reinvention, reflection and healing resonate deeply with Simpson, as a disabled artist struggling with progressive diseases he frequently injects positive affirmation scripture throughout his work, revealing a central ethos that underlies the artist’s complex iconography: the strong belief that the reward of suffering is experience. The repetition of images and phrases become ritualistic and operate like reaffirming mantras, reminders to “keep moving forward” and “things are as they are.” While Simpson’s iconography of memento moris might, at first glance, seem to inspire hopelessness, deeper engagement with the work makes it clear that the larger purpose is to motivate people. To motivate them to keep one foot in front of the other and to learn from the past, prepare for the future and live for today.

Currently, Simpson balances his craft between curating galleries in Berlin and Toronto. As a painter, he has shown extensively throughout Europe and the US with exhibitions in NYC, Paris, London, Miami, Berlin, LA, Madrid, Cologne, Basel, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Barcelona & The Hamptons 

In 2008 Simpson made his institutional debut as a finalist for the 10th Anniversary RBC Canadian Painting Competition with exhibitions @ The Power Plant, National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Alberta, Mendel Art Gallery, The Rooms St John’s and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.

Simpson has been featured in the NYC Observer, Canadian Art, Vie Des Arts and Sleek Berlin. 

Selected Art Fairs

Art Cologne, ARCO Madrid, DC Dusseldorf Contemporary, FIAC Paris, Art Miami, Art Chicago, Berliner Liste, Art Toronto, Slick Paris, Scope Miami, Scope Basel, Scope New York, Scope London, Scope Hamptons


2022-2024 Instructor at The Toronto School of Art

2019- 2024 Founder and Curator at The Drey, Berlin DE & Toronto CA

2015-2016 Founder and Director at Fata Morgana Galerie, Berlin DE

2011-2013 Residency Director and Curator at Sur La Montagna, Berlin DE

2002-2005  Artistic Director at Mix Magazine, International Culture and Arts Publication