Exhibit preview: Joss Parker mixes street and pop art styles in "Urban Euphoria"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Franklinton-based artist Joss Parker has been wowing the art community for a number of years with his spray painted stencil-based pieces that blend elements of street and pop art into dazzling visualizations. Many instantly recognize Parker’s style, which often incorporates iconic images (Audrey Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, the space monkey), because it is utterly distinctive.

“Being an image artist, I try to shy away from things that have been overdone,” Parker said during an interview at The Cycle Co., a motorcycle shop where he’s minority owner. “I don’t know if it was a rebellion, but I just wanted to do something different than what everyone else was doing.”

Another way Parker individualizes his work is the canvas, or lack thereof. Parker rarely uses the traditional canvas, instead opting for up-cycled signs, vinyl records, coasters, old advertisements — you name it. The artist said this has been a more prevalent trend in his most recent work and is a major characteristic of his exhibit “Urban Euphoria” at Gallery 831.

“In the fine-art world, everyone assumes it’s clean and neat. It’s on canvas. It’s primed. That’s how it’s always been,” Parker said. “I’ve [found] that spray paint and vinyl signs bond well and it looks great. It looks like glass — very glossy — whereas on the canvas it’s dull and isn’t as pop-y.”

Along with Parker’s newest pieces, he’ll also show a handful of his personal favorites, ones that haven’t been seen in a while — or at all — because he kept them in his home. Regardless of whether the paintings are newer or older, Parker is confident it’ll represent some of his best work because he mastered the critical technique.

“I have a philosophy that everything starts with the stencil. It’s doubly important to spend as much time as you can on the stencil and make sure it’s exactly how you want it to be. Then, the background work goes well with the stencils and doesn’t take anything away from each other,” Parker said.

Photo by Meghan Ralston

Gallery 831

Opening reception: 6-9 p.m. Friday, April 10

Through April 30

831 S. Front St., Brewery District