AOTCE: When did you get into the arts? 


TAFT PARSON: I am a creator who took a long break.  Through my childhood I focused on photography and illustration, and then took a long break to have a career in medicine.  However, rather than create, my wife and I became avid collectors.  During the pandemic, I found that I had time to create and got inspired to start putting paint to canvas.

AOTCE: What type of art do you do?  Representation, abstract, etc. 


TAFT PARSON: My work is primarily text-based art.  I found that written communication has become hyper-transient in our social media driven society, whereas historically written communication was meant to be important and permanent.  For much of history, it was both expensive and difficult to leave a physical written record.  I wanted to bring some of that permanence back in my work, as I feel that it makes me much more deliberate and thoughtful about the statements that I make.

AOTCE: Why do you think photo realism is prominent today?  


TAFT PARSON: As a collector and creator, I can appreciate the technical skill involved in producing hyper-realistic works. Additionally, regardless of medium used, these types of pieces are staggering in their beauty.

AOTCE: What is your subject?  


TAFT PARSON: I use my life experience as a black American to drive the work.  For example, while I would categorize my art as text based, I also use abstraction extensively in my work.  The twist is that I use techniques that black abstract artists pioneered, as we have long been under-recognized in the formal art world.  For example, using a push broom technique to quickly move paint over a large piece as was done by Ed Clark, or dyeing colors into raw canvas as done by Sam Gilliam while he was in the Washington color school.  

AOTCE: What is your medium of choice, and do you use more than one?  


TAFT PARSON: Recently, I have primarily worked with acrylic on canvas.  However, as I explore the techniques of various abstractionists, the medium may change.

AOTCE: Do you create regularly?  How often?  


TAFT PARSON: I will say regularly in my spare time.  Between work and family, I create in short spurts on a frequent basis.  I make sure to work on a piece daily.


AOTCE: What is your motivation?  


TAFT PARSON: I have a lot to say, and I see my work as a way to get my thoughts and feelings out into the universe in a unique manner.  Also, learning and experimenting in important artists’ techniques is fun.  I feel like I can get into their head and heart, if only for the time it takes to finish a piece.

AOTCE: If you teach, what lesson/s do you leave with your students?


TAFT PARSON: I teach, but not art.  One lesson that I have taught medical students and residents for years that I feel translates to the world of art is to make decisions that you are comfortable defending.  Do the right thing, not the safe thing.

AOTCE: Who are your greatest influences?  


TAFT PARSON: All of the artists that influence my work are great in different ways.  I really like William Pope.L for his text-based work, Sam Gilliam, Ed Clark, and Alma Thomas have been some of the abstractionist's techniques that I have had the most fun using.  

AOTCE: Whose work do you admire and why?  


TAFT PARSON: I admire the work of artists who I feel are technically superior to myself, and who are using their craft to make important statements about the world.  For example, Titus Kaphar has a masterful mix of technical artistic skill and the ability to make bold statements about our history in his work.  

AOTCE: Do you have any art exhibits or other events coming up?

TAFT PARSON: I currently have a piece on exhibit in a group exhibition called The Pandemic and Beyond at the Swords into Plowshares Gallery.

AOTCE: Do you work from a business studio or a home studio?  Why?  


TAFT PARSON: I currently work from home… It fits my work style to be able to hop into the basement to do a bit of work in between work and family duties… Plus, there’s no additional overhead.

AOTCE: Where can your work be seen?  Are you affiliated with a gallery?  


TAFT PARSON: As noted, in the Plowshares Gallery right now.  I am working with Harper Galleries and expect to have another show there in the near future.

AOTCE: Do you have an online presence where your work can be seen?


TAFT PARSON: I am not on social media, and therefore my work can only be seen in person when I have a show.

interview by VF

All rights to all images belong to the artists and cannot be used in any form without the written permission of the artists.  

All rights to all images belong to the artists and cannot be used in any form without the written permission of the artists.