Maya F. Simmons was born on August 8, 1978 and raised in Rockford, Illinois. She attended Auburn Senior High School where she cultivated her natural artistic talents in the advanced Creative and Performing Arts program.
While Maya participated in many extracurricular activities, she found her niche with the high school arts club and the Rockford Area Arts Council Youth Arts Society. Maya consciously pursued the arts and attended lectures and tours at the School of Art institute-Chicago.
Inspired by her learning experiences at the School of Art Institute, Maya enrolled in the Institute's early college program for visual arts located at the Rockford Art Museum. In 1996, while simultaneously completing the arts program and high school, Maya was accepted as a full-time student at the premier School of the Art Institute.
During her stay at the school, Maya studied with renowned professors and fellow art students. During the rigorous training and apprenticeships of executing art elements and principles in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography, Maya found her love for traditional portraiture, especially of the African-American culture. Maya then continued her education at Rockford College where she obtained a Bachelor's of Arts degree.
Today, Maya resides in Rockford and is working and teaching as a professional visual artist. She has accrued many achievements throughout life, but to her, achievements are stepping stones to upcoming adventures in life. Her motto is "It is not where you have been, but where you are going that is most important."
Maya F. Simmons has worked many years with the Rockford Area Arts Council's ArtsPlace youth arts apprenticeship program as a mentor and visual arts instructor. Her portrait's focus on capturing the essence of the sitter in banal locations and situations. To do a portrait well, one has to actually observe and look at the "truth" or essence of the sitter and then render it on canvas or paper. "Art is creation, or in my case re-creation."