Peter Parks was raised in Ohio but spent his teen years in Europe, going to school in Switzerland and spending time on the Greek island of Mykonos and in Rome.
In an undated press release from an early show, Parks said that upon returning to the United States in 1965 he enlisted in the military because “I wanted to go back to Europe, so I enlisted in the airborne … so I could go to Germany.” As it turned out, that move led him to a one-year combat tour in Vietnam.
When his tour of duty ended, Parks studied at the San Francisco Art Institute. He came to Taos in 1971 and stayed until 1979.
His first show was at the Stables Gallery here in Taos in 1978.
“Serendipity brought me to Taos from the Bay area in February 1971. I arrived on a snowy night at the old bus station with a suitcase full of paints, knowing there was a small, quiet art community and felt an immediate attachment,” Parks said.
“I was influenced by European painting along with Abstract Expressionism, and related very much to the Taos painters with their splashes of pure color. It was nice in the 70s sharing painting experiences with fellow artists. And that is what keeps me here — an awesome community of artists and art appreciation.”
Parks then went on to study at the Art Students League in New York before returning to Taos in the late 1980s.
I first met Peter through my ex-husband (Sonny Boy Robinson) during an early visit to Taos in 1979, a year or so before we moved here. I remember running into him in the City after we moved back there in the mid-80’s.
When I moved back to Taos in late 1990, Peter was already here, quietly making what is in my opinion, some of the most important work in America today.
Peter, like his friend Tom Dixon, lives to paint and paints to live. It’s that simple.
Modest in the extreme, his low-key vibe and genuine surprise when I asked him if I could feature him on the blog were a typical response. He and his wife Tanya still live quietly in Taos, especially now that their son Hollis is grown and on a creative trajectory of his own. Tanya is a writer and stained glass artist, and I’ll feature her here soon, too.
For Peter, painting is about painting. There’s no great mystery attached nor any hubris surrounding his extraordinary talent. He simply shows up and paints.
“For me it is about finding the essence of the painting. It is a discovery through trial and error and an understanding of the medium.”
For much more on Peter Parks,(and tons of images of his amazing work) please visit his website linked below.
Photographs care of the artist.