Kerry (Brooks) Simmons was born in 1976 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She began drawing and painting at a very early age, embarking on private studies at the age of twelve and formal studies of classical fine art at eighteen at the Academy of Fine Art in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Her enthusiasm for the nineteenth-century academic model that she found in Ukraine led her to return to the states to pursue a degree in Russian language and literature. Simmons continued her education with post-graduate study in St. Petersburg, at the Imperial Academy of Arts, widely considered the finest art academy in the former Soviet Union.
In St. Petersburg, she had the honor of studying drawing and painting in a highly disciplined academic environment styled after the French school, Russified, and maintained from before the Soviet Revolution.
Simmons also had the opportunity to study amongst top students from throughout the former Soviet Union and frequently visited the Hermitage and State Russian Museum, the largest depository of Russian fine art in Saint Petersburg.
Simmons later felt compelled to return to Ukraine to continue the studies she began at age eighteen at her cherished Academy of Art in Kyiv. Her passion for continuous learning eventually led her to the New York Academy of Art, where she was able to enrich her work through a rigorous study of anatomy and classical techniques.