Collin Parson grew up among artists, helping his father, the prominent Colorado sculptor Charles Parson, in the studio and experiencing the milieu as a firsthand observer and eventual participant. But as an adult, the younger Parson stands in nobody's shadow, working as a light-installation artist and the current gallery curator at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.
In a short time, he's already received critical kudos for several major shows at the center, including the far-reaching and immenseArt of the State
, which he co-curated with Dean Sobel of the Clyfford Still Museum. Parson also somehow still finds time to show as a member of Pirate: Contemporary Art, and was showcased in the retooled McNichols Building's inaugural gallery shows last fall.
This accomplished young man has nowhere to go but up, and his unique expertise in regard to who's who in the regional art world is a treasure chest that opens its lid with every new exhibition he stages at the Arvada Center. Because we figured he had something to say about the state of the state's art community, we asked Parson to answer our 100CC quiz; read on to learn more.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Collin Parson: I would create an Einstein on the Beach type of performance/installation. I would like composers Alvin Lucier or Steve Reich to create the "sounds," with Isamu Noguchi as the designer and Kurt Vonnegut as the guy we hang out with after to celebrate. We would create a piece that would combine elements of all media, and the viewer would be the "actor." (Like how I threw Vonnegut in there?)
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
James Turrell: He is everywhere right now -- the Guggenheim, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. His Roden Crater Project is literally out of this world. Being one of my favorite artists, I find it wonderful that someone historically so important continues to explore his "art and meaning" while continuing to stay fresh and vibrant.
Continue reading for more from Collin Parson. What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
My job is to promote and encourage trends as a curator, and as an artist I plead the fifth. However, as a person I could live without quinoa, kale and the gluten-free trend.
What's your day job?
I'm the exhibition manager and curator for the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Come visit, we're only sixty-four feet above Denver.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Ah, the unlimited funds question. I would first hire a full-time assistant for my father's studio...I'm tired of lifting heavy metal. Second, I would buy a live/work studio that allows me to create at a larger scale while being closer to home. Lastly, I would create an endowment that would support a building where artists have access to tools, experts and resources to create the art they want to create. Much like Joe Riché is doing with Demiurge.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
I think the Colorado art scene is quite strong right now. Lots of collaborations, partnerships and ideas are taking place. I would love to see more affordable studio spaces for artists. I've been to many artists' studios, and I always imagine if they are creating at such a high level with limited resources, what could they create with more? Art criticism is also lacking in the state. Our population of artists has increased, while trained arts writers and specifically their publications have decreased.
Continue reading for more from Collin Parson. Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
This question is impossible to answer. Colorado keeps on amazing me with its pure talent. Many of these artists are not only in the metro area but also throughout the state. We live in a very unique place. If I had to name one, it would be my father, Charles Parson. My parents surrounded me with artists and creatives, and without that, I wouldn't be where I am today. My father is such a prolific artist. Growing up, I never considered myself an artist because I thought you had to create like my father to be "an artist." He once created a performance/installation piece in the '80s that required the Platte River to be lowered at Confluence Park while he attached tons of ice blocks together for a piece that lasted only forty minutes. He also created a series of billboard art that encompassed Denver while hiring pedicabs to take people to visit each one. Charles Parson is the definition of what a Colorado artist can accomplish in a career...and he's still going strong.
What's on your agenda for the rest of 2013 and beyond?
I currently just finished curating the summer exhibition series PERCEPTION, Victor Vasarely and Yaacov Agam at the Arvada Center that will be up through August 25. After that, we're working with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) to highlight fifty artists who are changing the way ceramics are made and perceived. As for my own art, I have my solo at Pirate in spring of next year, an exhibition at Mai Wyn Fine Art and my first museum solo at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center alongside my father in the other gallery, which I think is really cool!
Who do you think will get noticed in the Denver art scene this year?
We currently have a young artist, Andrew Huffman, in our PERCEPTION exhibition, and I think he's on his way to having a nice career. He creates dimensional geometric paintings and installations out of colored yarn that are great! In just a short while, he's already exhibited at Gildar and GroundSwell. I also want to mention musician Cody Yantis -- he's in the "experimental" scene and has a lot of great concepts going on right now.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
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