José Parlá is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY.
When did you first become interested in art and how did you learn about it?
I was introduced to art by my parents. My father studied filmmaking in Cuba and my mother can draw very well naturally. She is self-taught and was always showing me how to improve my drawings. I had artistic neighbors growing up, one an architect and the other an engineer, who showed me their drawings and taught me what they knew. By the age of ten I was painting seriously all over Miami. That experience took me on a journey that is still going in ways I never imagined.
As an artist, how did you begin collecting work by other artists? What artists’ work do you live with?
The first few pieces I collected by trading with other artist friends. The most recent piece I acquired is by Evan Robarts. I live with art works by Carmen Herrera, Robert Overby, Teresita Fernandez, Mariah Roberts, JR, Tomoo Gokita, Julie Cockburn, Valerie Blass, Kaws, Wangechi Mutu, Julia Chiang, Lucien Smith, Bruce Davidson, Valery Hegarty, David Ellis, Romon Yang, and a few others.
Was there something in particular that drew you to Julia Chiang’s work? Can you share which pieces you own by Julia?
I own a beautiful piece by Julia Chiang titled “Keep it Together” which is a ceramic chain link. It’s a significant piece to me and it was installed in an interesting way at Half Gallery when I purchased it. I’ve always been an admirer of ceramic work and when used in sculptural conceptual art, it translates a very fragile handmade touch that I enjoy spending time with.
Which contemporary artists are you looking at and following? What do you wish you could go back and tell yourself as young artist?
There are so many working artists and I like to see a lot of museum shows and gallery installations so it’s really endless. But to name a few that I’ve recently been following: Jonathan Trayte based in London, Evan Robarts in New York, Alexandra Kostakis in New York.
You recently finished murals at One World Trade Center, Barclays Center, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and your two-gallery show at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery and Mary Boone Gallery closed on October 31. What’s next for you?
Next I am working in a modern-era tree house in Los Angeles and making very intimate work, paintings and sculptures. After all of the large scale projects I’ve done recently, I am enjoying working in nature and moving very slowly.