Greg Simkins

Name: Greg “Craola” Simkins

Pencil hand: Right

Craft: Painter/Street Artist

Brand: N/A

Location: Los Angeles, CA


“Whenever I am experiencing a block, I go to my stack of pocket size sketchbooks from the past and just start flipping pages.”

Greg Simkins
Greg Simkins


What do you do?

I am a full-time painter showing in galleries around the world. My main gallery representation is Merry Karnowsky Gallery/KPprojects here in Los Angeles. I am also a graffiti writer, having beginnings painting walls back in 1992.

What does your work space look like? Where do you like to create?

I have a built-out art studio in the back of my house that is my favorite place to create. I do, however, like to concept my paintings all over the place: coffee shops, a shady spot at the beach, the Redondo Beach pier, etc. I always keep a small sketchbook with me and a pencil.

What role does the pencil play in your process?

I use it in various ways; almost all my paintings are conceited with pencil and I also do a lot of finished monochromatic pieces with pencil only.

Why do you choose to work with pencils and, specifically, Blackwings?

I like to shade and create depth by pushing light and dark around and pencil just enables you to do this so easily. I especially like how effortless Blackwings make this process! The lead is smooth and forgiving and you can get such a variety of tones with it. It’s by far my favorite pencil to work with these days. I was a mechanical pencil guy for so long but Blackwings have won me over.

What other tools are essential to your process?

My main tools are my Trekell paint brushes. I spend most days with one in my hand pushing acrylic paint around. I use my computer as well for designing my layouts after scanning in my drawings. Spray paint and charcoals are also tools I enjoy using. 

How do you overcome ______ block? Writer’s block, artist’s block, etc.

Whenever I am experiencing a block, I go to my stack of pocket size sketchbooks from the past and just start flipping pages. I generally find ideas that I never had time to elaborate on and breathe new life into that idea. Works every time 🙂

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Work hard and push yourself daily to better your craft and treat others with respect.

Photos of Greg Simkins by Brent Broza.