German-born, Texas-raised, and New York-based artist Erik Parker creates vibrant, neon-colored figurative paintings. In fact, the artist says, it was his upbringing in the heat of south Texas that draws him to his bold, vibrant colors.
One is reminded, while scrolling through his work online, of the blacklight posters popular in the 1960s, ’70s and once again in the mid-aughts, and is tempted to put a blacklight to them. They reveal hints of comic book and psychedelic art, graffiti and even classical styles in all his work. A survey of the artist’s oeuvre shows a plethora of styles—maps, still lifes (like this week’s cover), landscapes, etc.—while simultaneously being recognizable as uniquely his.
A press release for his 2016 exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York noted that Parker synthesizes “multiple elements from his myriad styles into new dynamic compositions, the artist works at breaking down the metanarratives of late modernist painting while simultaneously digesting the pictorial chatter of scrolling feeds of social media.”
In other words, Parker takes what is old and what is new and uses them both to create his own unique vision, something truly inspiring in today’s world.
What was the inspiration for this piece?
I wanted to paint flowers.
Your work has gone through several phases, from text-based to surreal portraits and others. What advice do you have for other artists who might be hesitant to stop what’s working for them and try something new?
It’s hard to fight the nature of the beast.
Along the same line, what are you working on now?
Pyramid-shaped paintings and head paintings.
Is there one historical art school/movement with which you identify the most?
Pop Art and Chicago Imagists.
For those who enjoy your work, who are some other artists they should check out?
Karl Wirsum, Ed Paschke, Pedro Bell, Peter Saul, Tomoo Gokita, KAWS.
Is there one piece of advice you’ve received from another artist that you’ve always remembered?
You meet the same people going up as you do going down. So try to be nice.
If you could recreate any historical artwork in your style, which would it be?
“The Jungle,” 1943, by Wilfred Lam.
Are you showing currently, or do you have a show upcoming?
Yes, [I’ll enjoy] a solo show at Mary Boone Gallery in Chelsea in March 2018.