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Richard ParryBlog

A blog about making and exhibiting Richard Parry art, for anyone who is working with Richard Parry or interested in how the artist works.

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a stack of paintings in in a studio

With my Obey series which I've painted over a 14 year period I translate the Shepherd Fairey street art icon into an ongoing series of oil paintings. These compositions reveal the consistency of a singular context that undergrids the ostensibly spontaneous activity of being an artist in London. Far from being experimental, independent undertakings, they are copies which I re-mediate.⁣

Am I a London artist?

exhibition lineup media

The short answer is no; the long answer is no, with a few caveats:

I'm not a London artist. I just don't think I am. I just don't fit in. I don’t commercially exhibit in London. It’s been like that for years.

For me, my Art Zimbabwe project was perhaps the best representation of London: inscrutable, tense and acontextual.

My paintings do not export the same kind of escapism as those about having a hard time under surveillance capitalism. They don’t fit in with the definition and iconography of Arcadia Misa or the lovelorn criticality perpetuated by Carlos Ishikawa.

Because curators lack such shortcuts to categorise it, my work might appear outside the marketable scenes of the last 15 years, and that's good.

On the other hand, I'm a curator, we're all curators as well now, and I don't like the way curators degrade themselves. It’s not even a social activity any more. Mainstream curators are so paranoid that they think something's got to come from a different place in order to be good.

If someone told me I couldn't leave London again it wouldn't bother me. The more you travel, the more you get away from yourself. You sometimes meet these people who have been everywhere and you sort of know they can't get themselves together. They don't know what they're on about.

Obviously I have a desire, personally and for my art, to remain free of export contexts. Like gentrification, this notion of a local / networked criticality is often as much an institutional incantation as it is an actual representation.

A Territorial Song invoking the Power of the Cosmos

lockbox on exterior wall in the evening
exibition opening
two men in an underground space experiencing art


AirBnBing The Ed Fornielis Reading Group Re-enactment Society.

The threat of some kind of standardised horrible art world run by a bunch of fucking wankers

man wearing basquiat t shirt


The t-shirt of the Russian Foreign Minister bears the name of the American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in wartime.

Studio as Drone

The aesthetic experience of a Jazz painting is not only aesthetically defined, but socially and historically situated. The significance of the Lewisham ARthouse studio is particularly intriguing when hidden within an art practice that aims exclusively at the pure presentation of "contemporary art", through paintings intending to expel anything foreign to their aesthetic experience, while emphasizing a formal, perceptual visibility. As such, it is difficult to assess a single Jazz painting in isolation from either the broader classification of the context that increasingly defines the series or the series' historically accumulated predilection for spatial presence over temporal themes. The difficulty is further compounded by the lack of a definitive denotation of the term "Jazz painting" itself, which has been used as a catch-all for anything that resembles any of the painting's earlier visual forms. Moreover, the motivation behind recent taxonomies of Richard Parry painting stand in stark contrast to the original driving force of the project, which in the 2010s aimed at the reality of painting of an artists' co-op, in London.

The artificial grafting of a painting aesthetic contextually relevant in the 2010s onto today's social situation results in a lapsed painting series based on a contextual engagement that can at best only accidentally evoke its original impulses and ambitions. Newer Jazz paintings are not alone in barely pushing along painting forms that are already standardised. It's a symptom of a larger cultural phenomenon of repeating established norms because society hasn't caught up with its history (even if it's obsessed with it). Jazz paintings intend to take seriously their own history, and succeed in their intent by dissolving contextualisation, as providing a museum-like envelope of the past. Through their dream of solidarity and identification with the form's original idea (‘Jazz moment’), recent paintings preserve an aesthetics of their precedents, while at the same time exposing the ideologies behind the aesthetic forms more strongly. Early Jazz painting utilized an accepted painting aesthetic by exploring visual possibilities latent in preceding painting forms, but only to expand the possibilities of what could be considered a decentralised contemporary art. What concerns Jazz paintings and their audience are mainly aesthetic considerations, and most of what we perceive as new in latter-day Jazz paintings are actually latent in earlier forms. The question is why these opportunities are manifesting now.


Readability can be achieved by clicking on a painting, the user will move directly towards the selected painting. Moreover, clicking on the description of a painting will bring the description directly next to the user; this feature allows to remain far from the painting while still being able to read the painting description that is located underneath (see Jazz. ...

Open studios @ Lewisham ARthouse

grand staircase hung with a large painting of text reading 'cool'
painting studio interior with a Georgian style window
painting on an easel in the corner of a room


Open Studio 2022

Retrospective Planning Field Recording Album Launch

improvised sculpture outside House of Noise, 138 Lewisham Way, Lewisham
album launch display outside House of Noise, 138 Lewisham Way, Lewisham
Richard Parry on Lewisham Way

Salon Salon

pineapple on a plinth in a gallery
seated figure partially obscured by a pineapple on a plinth
two figures in conversation around a pineapple on a plinth
a formation of art people around a pineapple on a plinth

Selling sand @ Artist Self Publishers' Fair

dan mitchell and sand


LEECH data cd

LEECH exhibition

Richard Parry exhibition at LEECH, London

Conflation of the flag with the territory of ‘the thing’

The I'm Going to Spain paintings are about mapping a zone. Wherein exists the conflation of the flag with the territory of ‘the thing’

For me, identity is something to be suppressed or perverted. Better be the flag than the territory or event of ‘the thing’. By painting, I’m concerned with the appearance of ‘the thing’. Maybe this is more important than its identity.

This is where contemporary painting and social reproduction share an interest. Both are concerned with circulating the look of 'the thing'. For them, identity, which in contemporary art is difficult to categorize, is relgated to a lesser status.

By tuning into appearance, the paintings attempt two different things at once. The first acknowledges the idealisation of a criticality, developed by consumer networks. The second gets involved with art formats that enable consideration as such.

The paintings attempt something other than reinscribing the legitimizing power of consumer networks. They clarify the emptiness of esteem economies and art's claims on contextual purchase.

This reveals how consumer networks and judgemental art world establishments are both concerned with perpetuating the importance of inclusion. Each creates a myth of elsewhere, which in art means (depending on your position) transcendence, an emptied now, the death of art, the demise of originality or an anxiety relievable by purchase.

I'm Going 2 Spain

Richard Parry red painting
Richard Parry light blue painting
Richard Parry yellow painting
Richard Parry green painting
Richard Parry blue painting
gathering on Magaluf strip

I'm Going 2 Spain Data CD

Richard Parry data CD

The First Wave of Covid-Era Creative Diarrhea

richard parry studio visit
richard parry studio visitors
richard parry studio guests

Repeating painting the same painting allows us to overcome the issue of content and concentrate instead on the thorny issue of aesthetics.

Richard Parry jazz painting

The jazz paintings have nothing to do with politics, globalism or London. Each one starts with a single colour, arbitrarily arrived at. After that, it’s about conscious relationships that seem about right. By “seem about right” I mean imagining a potentially interesting relationship, or maybe I don’t really know what’s going to happen next. In my procedure, not really knowing is okay, and sometimes it feels important to interrupt myself by doing something off-key to heighten the feeling of uncertainty about what might go next.

The colours are not created mechanically or from pre-determined palettes, but through a kind of contested intuition. This relates to the same local visual environment that everyone experiences. This environment is mediated socially and by free market economies. Through the process of painting, the work reacts to a transformation of the visible world that is constantly happening. They provide some kind of record of it, but hopefully not a slavish one.

It’s not that a painting is composed and then executed, like an artist who first imagines a gallery exhibition and then wishes it to be an institutional critique. The colours here are not all intended at once, as they might appear in a finished image. They emerge bit by bit, mixed-in together or separate layers with underlying edges. The tension in the final arrangement results from these accumulated, individually considered relationships.

@Haus zur Liebe

richard parry artist painting
richard parry artist painting

Random invitations

christmas party invitation
open studio invitation

A word for the wonderful community of artists...

The Serpentine

If campaigns of this type continue [‘Toxic’ Allegations About Links to a Cyberweapons Company], the treasures of the art community—which are so fundamental to our society—risk an erosion of private support. That will be a great loss for everyone.

-Yana Peel, 2019

@ Blackwing Studios

Richard Parry JAZZ painting
Richard Parry JAZZ painting

Painting Exhibition in a Mark E Smith Foam Party

foam party
foam party

Poster by Dan Mitchell

Richard Parry poster

R Parry Field Recording

Richard Parry CD
Richard Parry CD

Salon (dreams)

Richard Parry dreams painting
Richard Parry swiss jazz painting

Salon (8 things...)

jacques rogers and richard parry salon painting salon

Artist Self Publisher's @ ICA

man sitting behind desk with asparagus


Selling Asparagus at ICA London

Richard Parry Tote Bag

richard parry tote bag
richard parry tote bag

Letting whatever the art - world says enter our minds unchallenged despite our self-image as great tellers-of-truth.

As artists, we tend to be establishment-oriented because, on a basic level, our entire identity depends on being recognised by the super wealthy (either directly, or through distributed networks). Often we appear unaware of this because it's an inconvenient truth. Finding out what's really happening requires looking past place-making narratives as the art - world pours into our heads. We must learn why it is we live and work as we do now. Where our fantasies and ignorance come from - and which powers they serve. In an exploitative society, the art - world serves the establishment and regulates the rest. It's literally based on representation, driven by wealth.

The thing is, at one point I did have the idea to paint like this. That was the jazz moment.

Richard Parry jazz text painting

Paintings like this might look like improvisations. But at this point in a contemporary art practice, they're almost certainly guaranteed to be contrived. It's like a jazz musician who improvises a riff one night, and then pretends to improvise that same riff, night after night, hundreds of times over. But the thing is at one point I did have the idea to paint like this - that was the jazz moment.

Record Launch: JAZZ EP

launch party
record launch flyer
richard parry jazz ep
richard parry jazz ep

Seeding asparagus in Peru to offset the lack of criticality in a collaboration with Oscar Murillo.

oscar murillo collaboration. peru
oscar murillo collaboration. peru

The artist’s output must fit the shape of the institution’s relations of distribution in order to allow the institution to celebrate and reproduce itself.

Richard Parry reflective painting

The institutional "gram" is the set of expectations an art-world places on in it's subjects when they participate in heritage-futures trading, in the search for having a "valid" experience. In response to art-expectations and often cultural and racial stereotypes, subjects reflect the expectations of a curatorial force in order to perhaps quite simply exist. This is often described as a destructive process, in which important cultural expressions are downgraded into references, or they quite simply cease to exist. Existing becomes consumed by an economic process which boosts certain cultural expressions over others, and cultural themes that cannot be easily distributed fall out of favour, or quite simply cease to exist.

This gram can also serve as a booster of ethnic identity, as it can revive cultural traditions that may have fallen out of favour under the vestiges of colonialism and imperialism. Because of the importance of cultural capital in many affinity groups, artists are placed in a dynamic where cultural "authenticity" becomes something very tangible and necessary to achieve economic success, or quite simply exist. This "reconstruction of identity" becomes important, because artists tend to act out cultural patterns and behaviours they believe would satisfy art-world distribution networks, co-producing their existence. The contemporary artist plays on stereotypes that Collectors have of their subjectivity, and seeks to perform them as best they can to trigger perception demand. The power that the "gram" has in supporting ethnic pride and identity can also be used to destroy ethnic pride and identity, in the cases where curatorial expectations do not align with the everyday realities of undistributed populations.

We assume neoliberalism hollows everything out.

We assume neoliberalism hollows everything out. So what used to have all sorts of meaning and implications now only means profits, or their potential. With only lip service paid to those former values, or let's call them subjectivity. If this is happening, too, with painting, how does it work? What would it mean for there to be a difference between referencing something and living it?

In the art-world, everything is equally valid. Oscar Murillo is the same as Jo Bradley. What would it mean for there to be, for example, a difference between an Oscar Murillo painting and a Jo Bradley painting?

My own paintings aren't actually painted solely from within holy ecologies of self-actualising joy, but rather a weird kind of almost-market. But the painting of these paintings involves frameworks of meaning that exist outside the almost-market, outside the stencil of your mind. Are these frameworks of meaning really only things to just reference, or could they be inhabited or lived in?

The point of Land Art

The point of Land Art is not to become better adjusted to you environment. The point of Land Art is to remain at odds with it.

Italy @ Watch It Gallery

Richard Parry JAZZ painting

Salon 4: Richard Parry Unplugged

richard parry painting event
richard parry painting salon event
richard parry painting situation

Arts Council England Edition

arts council england mirror by Richard Parry
arts council england mirror by Richard Parry

The pseudo-tension of every event is recognised and replaced by a kind of conscious, contextually-agnostic vibe. A "counterfeit" criticality tracks the remaining audience.

The stories art people tell themselves using the universalising ambition of a ‘global’ panorama that underlies a starting point for an ahistorical perspective.