Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Jose Parla´s book Cityscapes contains more than 150 pages of paintings and photography. The paintings really feel like they’re popping off the pages, the textures are incredible. He uses spray paint and the distinctive lettering style found on underpasses and concrete walls — bubble lettering, bold perspective letters and the newer, enigmatic wildstyle. But Parla is more than just a graffiti artist, a moniker that perpetuates the supposed schism between “high” and “low” art. Instead, consider Parla a novelist with an unusual method of storytelling.

Parla’s images read like an urban travel history, incorporating the work of “writers” (aka street artists) that he experiences during his forays into various concrete jungles. Using aging techniques to suggest typical urban walls — painted on, written on, scribbled out, painted over, covered with handbills — Parla recreates a sense of place. Miami (where he was raised) and New York City (where he now lives) are featured destinations. Each urban space and the artwork it inspires is a product of prior travelers (taggers) whose indelible marks Parla may incorporate into his paintings.

Parla was showing with masters like Lee Quinones and at locations throughout New York, including the reputable Chelsea Museum alongside European pioneer Mimmo Rotella, whose ’60s-era style included working with graffiti and torn posters. Parla began exhibiting in Japan — where graffiti art is huge — as well as booking commercial gigs with folks like Nike. His custom-painted clothing commemorating Los Angeles-based shoe designer UNDFTD is featured in Juxtapoz magazine. His work has appeared in the Miami Herald, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and in Rolling Stone.The Cityscapes exhibit were showing during Art Basel in Miami.

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