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Ed Parker

Ed Parker

Ed Parker

Southport artist Ed Parker is one of America’s leading marine painters working in the folk art tradition. But Parker’s work is much more sophisticated than the phrase “folk artist” would suggest. Parker’s Yankee sensibilities combined with a deep respect for history and a sophisticated sense of design, proportion, and color all contribute to Parker’s unique position as a maritime artist with a sense of humor.

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Southport artist Ed Parker is one of America’s leading marine painters working in the folk art tradition. But Parker’s work is much more sophisticated than the phrase “folk artist” would suggest. Parker’s Yankee sensibilities combined with a deep respect for history and a sophisticated sense of design, proportion, and color all contribute to Parker’s unique position as a maritime artist with a sense of humor.

            “While most marine artists tend to capture a moment in time,” says Parker, “I seek to capture a moment of a story or event. It may be real; it may be just plausible enough to be real. It is visual storytelling, and the viewer gets to decide how the story began and ends. My intent is often a humorous or whimsical attempt to view our culture or our not-so-different past history from another perspective that perhaps, within the story, reveals something new about that culture, our history, and our place in it.”

            A good example of Parker’s “painting the story” might his be delightful piece “The Market Boat.” Inspired by an actual sailboat loaded with produce that Parker saw docked in Newagen Harbor, the artist’s research led him to discover that market boats were common along the coast of Maine in the 19th century, a time when boat travel was much more reliable than hazarding the muddy dirt roads in a wagon. But Parker’s painting has a few additions—a cow and milkmaid, for example—that the originals were surely lacking!

            Ed Parker’s educational background includes degrees in both graphic design (BFA, Massachusetts College of Art) and painting and illustration (MFA, Rochester Institute of Technology).  He is a signature member of the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA). His painting “Nellie G.” was chosen for the cover of the Society’s summer 2015 issue of its magazine ASMA: News and Journal.

Parker’s paintings and sculpture have been shown at dozens of museums, including the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT, and the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA, and he has received numerous awards. Earlier in his career Parker served as art director of Boston Magazine and held design and illustration teaching positions at several colleges, including the Massachusetts College of Art, Montserrat College of Art, and the Art Institute of Boston.

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