B. 1962, Russia
Valentin Simankov was born in Smolensk, eventually moving to St. Petersburg where he entered the Leningrad Art College to study directing. He quickly became disappointed in this chosen profession and two years later dropped out, believing that any education destroys the artist. In love with St. Petersburg and its ever-changing atmosphere, Simankov spent his time photographing his explorations through the city. Soon after he got married and first daughter was born. Many of his photographs from this period include fragments of family happiness.
Eventually, Simankov fell under the influence of alcohol and drugs, which resulted in the breakdown of his family.
According to some reports throughout his life, Valentin had 6 daughters and 2 sons, but he always refused to talk about it, inserting the remark: "I am childless, and, by the way, we are all children". Due to family difficulties, upheavals and substance abuse, in the early nineties, Simankov turns to faith, transforming his own deep philosophical and aesthetic approach to life. It is at this time that the artist's recognizable style begins to appear: multi-layered collages composed of his own photographs, elements of books, newspapers, scraps of household items, graphics and letters with humorous inscriptions or poetic comments.
Simankov is a legendary man and peculiar symbol of St. Petersburg. For many years, he could often be found on the Griboedov Canal next to the Savior-on-Blood, selling his easily recognizable photo collages for a penny, then - in different parts of the city, where he avoided the pressure of commerce and corruption by street stallers. His house is littered with undeveloped film, some of which he prints, using old photo paper which was gift to him once in huge quantities by the "comrade from FSB". Simankov currently lives in a remote area of the city, making the journey to the city center less and less.
Simankov's works can be found in Russian and foreign collections, including collection abcd / Bruno Decharme (Paris).