Lawrence Campbell has called Gaon’s work “painted songs to the city’s bridges and lost souls, streets, and late-night wanderers, parks, neon lights, and derelicts, fast-food restaurants and all-night cafes.” In their explosive nature, these paintings, he argues, “seem to have happened rather than made.”

Simon Gaon has been immersed in urban life since the day he was born. He is a descendent of Persian and Turkish Jews—his father was born in Jerusalem and his mother was from Bukhara, Russia—and his parents immigrated from Russia to New York, where Gaon was born and raised. At the age of fourteen, Simon began painting, and his signature expressionist style was apparent from the outset. After graduating from New York’s High School of Art and Design, he attended the Art Students League, where he won a scholarship that funded study in Holland. He then won the Edward G. McDowell Travel Grant, which brought him to Europe, where he stayed for over a decade. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries all over the world.