Photo Courtesy of Christopher Marona
Preston Parrott’s “Transition Point” ($4,300) is steel and copper and is made to hang from the ceiling.
Preston Parrott has never considered himself an artist. In fact, he resisted the term.
“Painting doesn’t make sense to me unless there are numbers on the canvas,” he said with a smile from his Durango studio on Redman Lane, a converted garage filled with scraps of metal, tools and containers of chemicals.
What does make sense to him is line, color, texture and form.
Parrott was born in Virginia and grew up in Oklahoma and Mississippi. With an affinity for math and science, he spent a significant portion of his life in Austin, Texas, working in the computer industry.
Because his corporate work was so concentrated in the left brain, Parrott looked for right brain activities to help him achieve balance. He began taking art classes: clay sculpture was interesting, but when he took his first metal class working with wire and sheet metal, he knew that this was his medium. He set up his studio with a bench and a torch.
Next to the metal working studio where he took classes, a silversmith was working. Parrott took silversmithing classes and thought that it, too, was really cool. So he bought the tiny tools to do delicate work.
When he moved to Durango in 2004, Preston taught himself to work with large sheets of metal and to weld steel. He started his own small business, Blue Gemini Productions and created sinks, countertops, tables and range hoods.
But Parrott realized that making functional things was not as much fun or as stimulating as he thought it would be.
For the 2006 Home & Ranch Show, Parrott created an artistic piece from welded steel and copper called “Transition Point.” The work, which is more than 5 feet high, was designed to hang from a ceiling. The piece is a snapshot of energy as it reaches transition. On one side the patina is blue, the color of truth; on the other side, the patina is green, the color of growth. When green yields to blue, the transition is complete.
The truth was revealed to Parrott when “Transition Point” received gratifying attention at the show.
The creative process for Parrott is intuitive. He is not emulating artists he admires. He begins with an idea, perhaps born from metaphysics, physics, Gi Gong (Chinese body work) or sacred geometry, and says let’s see what happens.
“It’s not like I wanted to make something that represents integration,” Parrott said of one of his recent works, “Integration,” which will debut at Denver’s Cherry Creek Arts Festival.
“It started with cubes and a pipe. Then another piece of the picture comes into view. It’s like putting together a puzzle. When I’m done, I look at it and say ‘what is it?'”
The more than 5-feet-high cube sculpture features a delicate silver center with a focal piece of purple sugilite.
Parrott’s application to the Cherry Creek Festival was as instinctive as his art. He started looking for art fairs in Colorado and found one with an emerging artist program, so he applied. It was only after his acceptance that he realized how competitive the show is.
“Who knows what happens next,” Parrott said. “But I’m making the art for me, and I have to believe that what I am expressing in my work is going to provide for me. Making money for my art means I can make more art.”
firstname.lastname@example.orgLeanne Goebel is a freelance writer specializing in the visual arts.