Michael Parkes occupies a unique niche in the fine art world. Highly respected by artists as a fine technician, and well-loved by collectors for his beautifully portrayed imaginative subjects, Parkes is an artist with an impeccable reputation.
To view the work of this acclaimed painter, sculptor and stone lithographer is to enter a meditative state, not of torpor but of heightened appreciation – a state of unmistakable marvel. Although Parkes scenes play out in a fantastic universe where the laws of ordinary space and time are transcended, meticulous care is given to depicting the inhabitants, whether angels, dwarves or heraldic beasts. Even the monsters are beautiful and have dreams and disappointments of their own.
Michael Parkes was born in Missouri in 1944. He studied art at the University of Kansas at Lawrence and upon graduation was hired as a lecturer in graphic arts. His early work was primarily in the Abstract Expressionist style. Parkes taught for four years at Kent State in Ohio and the University of Florida.
In 1970 he set off with his new wife, Maria, and $800 in savings. They traveled widely in Europe, then flew to India, Nepal and Pakistan. This was no sightseeing trip – the artist was educating himself in the philosophy, mythology and mystical imagery of many cultures, developing a foundation for what would later become the vocabulary of his magical style.
This style has sometimes been characterized as Magic Realism, wherein a sharply etched realism of depiction combines with fantastic, dream-like subject matter. Many of Michael Parkes' works were created as original stone lithographs, a uniquely appropriate medium to set forth his ephemeral dream worlds. In this demanding medium, successive layers of the original image are drawn directly on a 100-year-old Bavarian limestone lithography slab, than printed to paper on a vintage 1906 Heidelberg press. The original is created as the printing process progresses. Uncontrollable elements, errors and ghosts are constantly arising with their own suggestions of directions the artist has never imagined before but must incorporate.
Due to the retirement of Michael's long-time lithographers, he will no longer be creating stone lithographs. The few remaining works are going quickly. Browse the complete selection here.
Parkes Update: New Giclee Editions on Vellum! Michael has long used vellum for drawings and sketches, now he has partnered with a fine art printer to create limited editions on this lovely, translucent art paper.
Scroll down to the New Releases category to view the new titles. Pre-publication pricing available on all new titles for a limited time. With very small edition sizes and exceptional collector appeal, these editions are sure to become legendary and rare Parkes treasures.