Jonathan Parker was born in Belfast in 1968 and grew up in Twickenham, Middlesex. Educated at King’s College School, Wimbledon and Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London, as a fine draughtsman he then moved to Zaragoza, Spain for two years, learning the art of plein air painting in the landscape. Upon graduation from Northumbria University, with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art (1992), he was chosen to be the winner of The Royal Academy Richard Ford Award. Parker had already undertaken a screen print apprenticeship in Havana, Cuba, where he held his first exhibition outside Europe (1991).
His first solo show in London, inspired by human activity on the Tideway, was held at Mercury Gallery in Cork Street (2000), marking the start of the artist’s profound engagement with the River as subject. In 2011 Parker exhibited his River Collection at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley upon Thames which led to an agreement with Lloyds Private Bank in Hill Street – The Hill Street Hang – mounting an evolving exhibition of 150 artworks in the heart of Mayfair for a nine year period (2011-2020). His dealings with the art world have been guided throughout by his wife Helena Christy.
The National Trust country house, Wallington in Northumberland has also been an important place for Parker’s artwork, with his various portraits of Trevelyans including his grandmother, having been viewed by over a million visitors to the house since their creation. (Available to view with other artworks in the nation’s collection online at artuk.org). The use of a studio at Wallington from 2011 onwards culminated in a ‘Jonathan Parker’ symposium and exhibition – Familiarity and Mystery – held at Trevelyan College, Durham University (2017). Exploring personal family history is a thread that runs through many of Parker’s other artworks.
With the same studio in Wimbledon for over 25 years, Parker acts like a test pilot for painting figuratively; oil on muslin on wood, very long brushes, lead white, the use of a unique golden blue figure for composition etc., all summed up by his maxim “Past + Present = Painting”. Importantly now, when it comes to regarding the market, Parker recognises that membership of the Artists’ Collecting Society will help him put in place a more comprehensive method of looking to the future and to the past at the same time.
Courtesy of the artist’s website.