Pieter Janssen is a Dutch artist who was born in 1976. This multi-skilled artist has managed to achieve global recognition thanks to his many talents as a painter, sculptor, illustrator designer and musician. His long and rich career is punctuated by collaborations with famous sportswear brands such as Nike as well as with household art institutions like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for which he created a mural in 2012.
What is Parra?
Parra manages to create his own universe and to adapt it to a wide range of medium and products, from classical canvases or posters to more commercial, designed objects or streetwear items. His vibrant red and blue nuanced illustrations and beaked women and birds in hills with generous curves are inspired by pop art and street art and often convey a humorous or satirical message. Picturing and amplifying everyday life scenes, one can see in Parra’s work the influence of other prominent artists such as Keith Haring for his lines and colours.
How did Parra Became Parra?
His father who was an artist himself, and his passion for skateboard as a teenager led the young Pieter Janssen to be in contact with art and urban culture which became his main inspiration. Struggling at first, he started to create flyers and posters for clubs and bars in Amsterdam and developed his unique style and made a name for himself in the 90’s. He collaborated with Ben & Jerry’s on commercial campaigns which soon attracted the attention of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art a tipping point in his carrier as his work entered into museums for the first time. SFMOMA commissioned a sixty-foot-long mural 'Weirded out' by Parra which is now part of the museum collections.
Whilst continuing to collaborate and merge his unique style with famous sportswear brands (Nike, Vans etc…) Parra’s work can now also be discovered on the walls of numerous art galleries across Europe Japan and North America. Parra is also the co-founder of his own apparel label “By Parra” and is also involved in electronic music bands.
Why we think Parra is DOPE!
The similarities between Parra’s illustrations and Keith Haring’s work (also available on DOPE! Gallery) is not the only thing that has drawn us to this artist. What we find remarkable about Parra is how his work is contrasted. It can be seen as figurative but also abstract, it is both colourful and plain and this subtle balance and elegance shows Parra’s talent! The way he managed to create a unique and immediately recognizable universe bridging the artistic, urban and commercial sphere fits into our contemporary era and matches with DOPE! Gallery’s ambition to promote artists that are representative of our modern society.