Behind the Scenes

Sketchbook: José Parlá

A glimpse at the artist’s thought process by way of his work.

The Miami-born, Brooklyn-based artist created an abstract composition based on his signature by applying water and powdered pigments to paper. For Parlá, the elements of this work function in several ways: as a drawing, a painting, an example of calligraphy lettering, and a New York Cultural signifier. Photo: Rey Parlá.

José Parlá, Artist

Parlá Studios, in Brooklyn

“A lot of my work is made without any sketches. There’s so many layers, and within those layers, there’s a problem-solving process. Imagine the canvas to be almost like a wall in a city. People might mark it, paste a poster to it, paint it, or the weather may affect it in a certain way. I’m setting up the canvases to be vulnerable like that. In a sense, my process is kind of like the sketch that one would use to commence a work.”

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