Hopper Prize Journal Interview

I always appreciate it when folks want to sit down and ask me more about my studio process and this crazy life I lead. I am excited to share the latest iteration of one of these sessions. Last year I was awarded the Hopper Prize and this year they reached out to do a little interview.

In this interview, among other things I pay my respects to Dr Brooks (who had a major influence on me becoming an artist), I  talk about what I do when paint is drying and how I use my phone as a tool in my studio. I hope you find this insightful and please feel free to reach out if you would like to have a conversation or to further this one.

Here’s a little snippet:

“I usually arrive and unpack any books or new music that I bring to the studio, pro tip I like to bring new episodes of podcasts or albums to the studio as a sort of extra incentive. I settle in and begin with some warm up drawing. I usually have a couple of different exercises to get focussed but sometimes this is just time to look at and work up some new ideas in my sketchbook. Then I move on to making in earnest….”

Please click here for the full interview.

As always, I appreciate your support. It means the world to me.

-Erik Parra

The Space Between

The Problem with Bleached Terracotta

16x 20in.

Acrylic on Panel



I am very excited to share that I have been included in a group exhibition titled The Space Between at Marrow Gallery in San Francisco, CA.

From the gallery: Marrow Gallery presents The Space Between. The exhibition features the work of Erik Parra, Hiroshi Sato and Travis Weller, three Bay Area based artists whose work is an exploration of time, the constructs of environment and the artifice of intentional metaphors. Whether representing the banal (a potted plant) or the academic (a still life) the viewer begins to understand the artists intent; a declaration that there is a connection in the seemingly disconnected. The exhibition runs from January 9th until February 9th. There will be an artists reception on Saturday, January 26th from 5-7.

If you are in San Francisco I do hope that you get a moment to see this exhibition.

As always I really appreciate your support.

-Erik Parra


The Hopper Prize


Acrylic, Spray Paint and Marker on Panel
30 x 24 inches




I am beyond excited to announce that I have been selected as one of five finalists to receive The Hopper Prize!

From The Hopper Prize website:

“The Hopper Prize was established for the sole purpose of advancing the field of visual art by providing direct financial assistance to artists in the form of unrestricted fellowships.

We view the field of visual arts in its broadest and most inclusive sense and therefore make our awards available to artists engaged in artistic practices spanning all methods of production.

Winners are determined by a panel of distinguished guest curators on the basis of artistic excellence and the promise of future potential.” 

To learn more, please visit their website.


Thank you very much for your support, it means the world to me!

-Erik Parra


Art Practical: Shotgun Review


Form Follows Function ii

20in. X 26in.

Acrylic on Panel

I feel very fortunate that intelligent people take the time to write thoughtful comments about my artwork. Here is a very thoughtful review of my exhibition titled HIstory By Choice, recently on view at Eleanor Harwood Gallery, in San Francsico, CA.

From the review:

“Nothing is as it seems in Erik Parra’s History by Choice at Eleanor Harwood Gallery. At first glance, the paintings of domestic interiors appeared so banal that I almost passed them by, but a faint, disquieting strangeness about the depicted spaces gave me pause. Chairs float, legless. Views of the outdoors beckon, but turn out to be mere reflections in mirrors. Shadows—which typically impart dimensionality—are so stark that they flatten entire scenes into blocks of color. Parra’s refusal of depth even extends to a would-be sculpture in the gallery’s center: a painting of a sculpture, comically installed on a pedestal like a three-dimensional object, and aptly titled Function Follows Form (2017)…”

For the entire review please click here.

Thank you for your continued support!

Erik Parra

History By Choice

Monstrous Delicious
acrylic on canvas
75in. x 60in.

I am over the moon to announce the opening of my solo exhibition titled History By Choice at the Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco, CA. The exhibition opens March 3, with a reception from 6-8pm and runs through April 14,2018.

From the website:

“We are pleased to present Erik Parra’s first solo show with the gallery. Parra is the among the first recipients of the Liquitex Research Residency Program at Minnesota Street Project Artist Studios.

Erik Parra has exhibited internationally in alternative spaces, commercial galleries and museums in Berlin, Brazil, Los Angeles, London and New York.  He was born and raised in El Paso-Juárez and currently resides in San Francisco.

His solo show, “History by Choice” explores interior spaces and how the history of design informs our emotional response to the environments we inhabit. The majority of the works in the exhibit were made during the Liquitex Research Residency located within the Minnesota Street Project Art Studios.

Maybe it is a good thing for us to keep a few dreams of a house that we shall live in later, always later, so much later, in fact, that we shall not have time to achieve it. For a house that was final, one that stood in symmetrical relation to the house we were born in, would lead to thoughts–serious, sad thoughts–and not to dreams. It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality.”  ― Gaston BachelardThe Poetics of Space

Parra grew up in a home that was full of carefully selected Modern furniture chosen by his parents. Parra’s interest in design and the history of architecture stems from his childhood.

The title of the exhibit, ”History by Choice” comes from the book “Design by Choice” by Reyner Banham published in 1981. 


For more information including images of available works please click here.

Cranium Corporation Interview

I was recently invited to share my thoughts about my studio practice and current ‘zine project with Á.R. Vázquez-Concepcíon at the Cranium Corporation. We get into the origin story of my current body of work and how my personal history informs this. We also talk about the “magic of painting” and I am really not sure how but that phrase really did pop out as I responded to his question. Wee also discuss collage and my current ongoing book project mowa. I hope you will take a couple of minutes and listen!

Please find the interview linked here.

Thank You!

Liquitex Research Residency

Still Life for Jolene III, Acrylic, Spray Paint and Marker on Panel, 24in x 30in, 2016

Liquitex Research Residency Program

I am over the moon to announce that I have been selected to participate in the inaugural Liquitex Research Residency Program! Please check back for more updates.

From the press release:
Liquitex has partnered with Minnesota Street Project to provide four Bay Area artists fully funded residencies at 1240 Minnesota Street. Developed to support the creation, presentation and dissemination of contemporary painting practices, the residency aims to support emerging artists by providing work space, materials, resources, and engagement within the studio program at Minnesota Street Project.

Selected from a shortlist of emerging artists, Minnesota Street Project is honored to welcome:

Micah Wood
Erik Parra
Woody De Othello

Please note: The Liquitex Research Residency Program is annually awarded to a group of artists selected by a committee including figures from both the Project + Liquitex. The Residency does not currently accept unsolicited applications.

Framework: Elements of Architecture


Foyer No. 2, Acrylic, Spray Paint and Marker on Panel, 14in. x 11in., 2015


I am happy to announce that I have been included in a group exhibition entitled Framework: Elements of Architecture at North Seattle College. The exhibition opens Wednesday February 1, 2017 and will run though March 17, 2017. If you are in the Seattle area please stop by if you have time.

From the North Seattle College website:

From the beginning of time, architecture has fed the soul through ingenuity and beauty, and has also functioned simply as a roof over the head. Both capacities have inspired the artists shown here today, as they find inspiration in the sculptural qualities of a building, in the principles of construction itself, or as a stand in for the body. Essentially, these artists articulate how architecture and structure can mix. In this gallery, you will find works that crosspollinate the building with it’s surrounding space, the past with the present, the interior with the exterior, and the impermanent with the fixed. Featured artists include: Dan Carrillo, Susan Gans, Monica Gonzalez, Kevin Haas, Myszka Lewis, Terrell Lozada, Sean Morrissey, Yoonmi Nam, Erik Parra, and Kim Van Someren.

For more information click here or here.

Thank you so much for your support.


Erik Parra

In the Same River Twice














October 15 – November 19, 2016

Opening Reception: October 15, 6-8 pm

1295 Alabama Street, San Francisco

Gallery Hours:  Tues – Sat 12-5pm

state is pleased to present In The Same River Twice, by San Francisco-based artist Erik Parra. For his hometown, solo exhibition debut, the artist presents a new collection of drawings with a corresponding drawing installation, and new paintings with a corresponding painting installation. The work continues the artist’s line of inquiry into mid-century visual tropes and their intersection with the construction of the American Dream. The exhibition will be on view from October 15 – November 19, 2016  with an opening reception on Saturday October 15 from 6-8pm. The artist will be in attendance.

“If a man is never in the same river twice, how is he to know?”

This age-old philosophical statement is as much about self-reflection as it is about the constancy of change. In The Same River Twice delves into the correlation of the designed environment and failed utopias in order to examine the idea of the American Dream. The exhibition examines the stories we tell ourselves in order to navigate the structures we build.

Parra’s work centers on the the mid-century structure as a metaphor for the way major narratives about the “Greatest Generation” were shaped for public consumption. Through this lens of history, the artist aims to shed light on how decisions from the past have reverberated into our current social concerns.

Narrative unfolds through a language of pictorial construction where objects within each painted or drawn interior are chosen for their potential for symbolic form — simultaneously loaded and banal. For instance, the artist uses unassuming tchotchkes to symbolize major public undertakings (American Exceptionalism, The Interstate Highway System and the Egyptian pyramids), prompting a dialogue about our cultural roots.

With an intense formal play on perspective, the artist offers multiple levels of access points for viewers to engage with these interiors. Upon initial observation, living rooms make sense as nostalgic, yet inhabitable spaces, but a closer look offers strange  vantage points and dueling perspectives generating menacing, alien environments.

To read Erik Parra’s artist statement about In the Same River Twice, please see>>

About Erik Parra

Erik Richard Parra was born and raised in the border metroplex of El Paso-Juárez. He received a Bachelors of Fine Art degree in painting from The University of Texas at Austin and completed a Masters of Fine Art while on fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Currently based in San Francisco, California, Erik has exhibited internationally in alternative spaces, commercial galleries and museums in Berlin, Brazil, Los Angeles, London and New York. In the Bay Area Erik’s work has been exhibited at Blankspace Gallery, Johansson Projects, The Headlands Center for theArts, Root Division, Southern Exposure, Kala Art Institute and the Berkeley Art Center. Erik’s work has been included in publications including New American Paintings, the SF Bay Guardian and the Los Angeles Times. Additionally Erik teaches art, has lectured at universities, given artist talks and has garnered residencies and awards. www.erikparra.com

About state

state is a new visual arts exhibition space in the Mission District of San Francisco. state exhibits contemporary art with an emphasis on Bay Area artists and project-based artwork. state is run by Danielle Smith and Kimberly Verde of FRAMEWORK.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12-5pm



LA Times Review


Day for Night, 42 in x 30 in, acrylic, marker and spray paint on canvas, 2016


How to Build a Foghorn has been reviewed by the LA Times

I am over the moon to share this press clipping with you. Christopher Knight has been one of my favorite writers since I purchased his book of essays back in Graduate School..

from the LA Times:

Uncharted Seas in “How to Build a Foghorn” at Samuel Freeman

By Christopher Knight, Art Critic

“…Moody and dreamlike nocturnal landscapes in paintings by Erik Parra juxtapose suburban living rooms and backyard patios with vast starry skies, as if both are alien habitats…”

For the entire essay click here.