Erik Parker

Trippy, neon collages of today’s world.

Erik Parker (he/him) was born in 1968 in Stuttgart, Germany. He is now based in New York City.

Education

During his BFA at the University of Texas in Austin, Parker studied under artist Peter Saul. Parker cites him as an important influence. “I learned from him that you have to follow your own vision of art and not some norm or other.” They remain in contact to this day, 25 years later.

Studio

Many paint colours are identified by number. But Parker has dyslexia, however, and struggles to remember them. Instead, he names each paint he uses after celebrities or random associations. Some examples: “Seth Rogan,” “Mos Def,” “Apollo” and “dark brains.”

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

Paintings by Erik Parker are loud, assertive and trippy. He layers images into psychedelic collages, often incorporating geometric forms like pyramids. Neon figures melt into and obscure each other. His references are stock photos sourced from the internet. After sketching them onto canvas, the artist manipulates them into intricate compositions. They are then painted in acrylic in a flat, graphic style. Visually, Parker references graffiti, cartoons and comic books. Many of his inspirations stem from his childhood. Counterculture in particular, including punk rock, hip hop and skateboarding.

For Parker, clashing styles mimic the oversaturation of visual imagery today. “I am trying to make loaded paintings because we live in a loaded time.” Contributing to the visual intensity, art historical references are juxtaposed against cartoon figures. Some recent works are in tondo, a circular format first used during the Renaissance. It adds a telescopic effect to his art. Other works include bits of famous paintings, like Hokusai's iconic Great Wave. As a whole, Parker’s acid-coloured works are as mesmerising as they are overwhelming. Just like our lives on the internet.

“The idea is to take something familiar and make it strange.”Erik Parker