John Parker received his BFA from The Cleveland Institute of Art and MFA from The Rinehart School of Sculpture at The Maryland Institute, College of Art. He taught welding at the Skill Center in Grand Rapids and sculpture for four summers at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Parker moved to the Philadelphia area in 1980, where he was the Iron Foreman for Old City Construction Co. Three years later he was a creator and Vice President of Voltri Ironworks where he fabricated and installed structural and miscellaneous steel. In 1989 he created and became President of The Painted Garden, Inc. where he designs, fabricates and installs iron garden structures, including trellises, pergolas and gates. Parker has been creating outdoor sculpture since 1975, and shown his work in exhibitions all through the Eastern and Midwest states. He is in collections that include Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park, IL, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Hamilton, OH and Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, MD.
The forms from nature that I have drawn from for these sculptures are taken from insect life-segmented, hard shelled bodies, robotic and armor coated, yet able to instantly take flight. The large scale of these otherwise small creatures comes from reality and fantasy of the prehistoric world.
Steel plate is my material of choice; man made and industrial in its purchased form. I enjoy the challenge of making something animated and weightless with iron. The possibilities have been endless for me in the way I have been able to transform this heavy material. Strong and durable, my sculptures withstand the test of time and I’ve had great success on public sites.
Outdoor sculptures have to function in a comprehensive way as a drive-by experience, as strong and dynamic silhouettes. With further exploration for the passer-by or neighborhood resident, a deeper appreciation and enjoyment can be explored walking around, under and through the pieces.
Art is not an instant snapshot. It is meant to be lived with and experienced. The importance of outdoor sculpture is that one does not have to go to a museum to experience it.