José Parlá (American, b.1973) is a painter and historical transcriber who records his experiences using palimpsestic code and calligraphy. Parlá is also a visual raconteur who creates his work using backdrops, such as city walls marred from years of neglect, to tell the story of distress that he encounters in various places he visits. Parlá was born in Miami, FL, to Cuban parents in exile. Parlá started painting when he was just 10 years old. In 1989, he received the Francis McCommon Scholarship to the Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia. Parlá continued his studies in the 1990s at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL, where, under Mel Alexemberg (American, b.1937), he studied advanced painting. He also received a Scholastic Art Award in 1989. Parlá uses calligraphy painting and graffiti on city walls to tell visual stories that interpret the urban world as a living continuing history.

In 2000, the artist began to exhibit his series of prints and paintings in various solo exhibitions in Atlanta, GA. Parlá named his first Miami, FL, solo exhibition Cityscapes. He held this exhibition in 2006. Since then, Parlá has exhibited Layered days in New York in 2008, Reading through Seeing in Hong Kong in 2009, and Walls, Diaries, and Paintings in New York in 2011. Parlá has also participated in group exhibitions including The New Yorkers held at the V1 gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark. The artist has made a great contribution to Modern Graffiti Art, using it as a tool for city walls to tell the history of the people in the cities. Parlá's exhibition artworks Walls, Diaries, and Paintings and Character Gestures have also been published as books of the same name in the years 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Recently, Parlá has collaborated with anonymous artist JR (French, b.1983) to paint street murals in Havana, Cuba. The artist has made enormous contributions to Street Art through calligraphy and graffiti; he is a notable artist in the rapidly growing Street Art Movement. Parlá has been invited to exhibit his work and lecture at the MAC Museum and Whitworth College in Spokane, WA. His works can be seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, NY, The Burger Collection, Hong Kong, and in the streets of Havana. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Timeline

1973
Born in Miami, Florida
Recipient, The Scholastic Art Awards Frances Larkin McCommon Scholarship
Miami Dade Community College, FL
Savannah College of Art & Design, GA
New World School of the Arts, FL
Lives and works in Brooklyn

Exhibitions

2012
Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY (solo)
2012
Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA (solo)
2012
Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba (solo)
2011
Legal Tender, Martha Otero Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2011
José Parlá: Walls, Diaries, and Paintings, Bryce Wolkowitz, NYC (solo)
2011
Character Gestures, O.H.W.O.W, Los Angles, California (solo)
2010
The New Grand Tour Bryce Wolkowitz, NYC
2010
Street/Studio 2.0, Irvine Contemporary, Washington, D.C.
2010
It Ain’t Fair, O.H.W.O.W., Miami, FL
2009
The Kings County Biennial Curated by James Fuentes, Kidd Yellin Gallery, Brooklyn NY
2009
It Ain’t Fair / Art Basel Miami Beach O.H.W.O.W., Miami
2009
Stages | Live Strong Foundation O.H.W.O.W., Miami
2009
Stages | Live Strong Foundation Deitch Projects, New York
2009
Stages | Live Strong Foundation Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
2009
The Paper Chase Plaything Gallery and O.H.W.O.W. Curated by Al Moran & Aaron Bondaroff New Zealand
2009
The New Yorkers V1 Gallery, Denmark, Curated by Todd James and Mikklel Groennebaek
2009
Reading through Seeing, New Works Ooi Botos Gallery, Hong Kong (solo)
2008
Layered Days Cristina Grajales, Inc. Soho, NYC (solo)
2008
Adaptation / Translation Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, London, UK (solo)
2008
Memory Documents Galleria Il Trifoglio Nero, Genova, Italy (solo)
2008
The New Grand Tour DNA Space, Dashanzi Art District, Beijing, China
2008
Hi & Lo Kai Kai Ki Ki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Curated by Takashi Murakami and Hiroshi Fujiwara
2007
The Grand Tour Autopsy Gallery, Melbourne, AU (solo)
2007
The Elsewhere Community Monster Children Gallery, Sydney, AU (solo)
2007
The Rosy Blue Masters Royal Mirage, Dubai Cultural Council, UAE Curated by Marc Latamie
2007
Pirate Utopias, Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, London, UK
2007
The New Grand Tour Brave Gallery, Hong Kong
2006
June 13th, José Parlá & Dr.Romanelli Joyce, Hong Kong
2006
In or Out?, Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, London, UK
2006
Stussy World Tour Los Angeles, CA
2006
The Puppy Love Project: Cancer Benefit Luminaire and Christie’s charity auction. Art Basel Miami Beach, FL
2006
Cityscapes Curated by Manon Slome, Art Basel Miami Beach, FL (solo)
2006
The Mystic Writing Pad Koehler Gallery, Wihtworth College, WA (solo)
2005
Autonomous Paths Kinsey/DesForges Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
2005
Contemporary Palimpsests Refill Gallery, Sydney, AU (solo)
2005
Serendip, Tsunami Relief, Sri Lanka. White Box Gallery, NY
2005
Art Nites: Experiencia Culinaria Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
2005
June 13th, José Parlá & Dr.Romanelli Louis Vuitton’s Celux, Tokyo, Japan
2005
José Parlá Billboard Project V10.0. Undefeated & Nike, Curated by Aaron Rose, Los Angeles, CA
2004
Hyphens: Miami New York, Habana Prophecy Gallery, Harlem, NY (solo)
2004
Barnstormers Retrospective SECCA: Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC
2004
Hollywood to the Street: From the Poster to Graffiti, Mimmo Rotella & José Parlá, Curated by Manon Slome, Pictography The Marlin Hotel, Miami Beach, FL
2003
Bazaar Cuchifritos Art Gallery, Lower East Side, NY
2003
Bizen Yaki Engravings BAL., Co. Okayama, Japan (solo)
2003
What about New York? Agnes B., Gallerie Du Jour. Paris, France.
2003
Two Rooms. José Parlá & Moi Tran, Brooklyn Studio, NY
2003
Barnstormers: Hive Mind Sound System Lump Gallery Projects, Raleigh, NC
2003
Final Modification 2 Exrealm Yamaha Gallery, Tokyo
2002
Chance by Choice: The point in space where all points meet, The Annex Space, Miami Design District, Art Basel, FL
2002
Extensions of the Spectacle Winter Music Conference, Albion Hotel, Miami Beach, FL
2002
Barnstormers, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Santurce
2002
Boomerang: Lee Q., Rostarr, and Ease Curated by Agnes B., Soho, NY
2002
Barnstormers: No Condition is Permanent Smack Mellon Gallery, Dumbo-Brooklyn, NY
2002
Identidad en Progreso Carlos Irrizarry Gallery, San Juan, PR (solo)
2002
Personal Alphabet Exrealm Yamaha Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
2002
Marked by Ink Stains bOb Gallery. L.E.S., NYC (solo)
2001
Art Miami Modern Primitive Gallery, Miami Beach Convention Center, FL
2000
An Experimental Introduction to a Segmented Reality. Modern Primitive Gallery. Atlanta, GA (solo)
1999
Inkheads: Sporadic Germination 0000 113 Ludlow Street, NYC
1997
Scratching the Surface Modern Primitive Gallery, Atlanta, GA

Literature

Betancourt, Michael. Active Engagement in José Parlá’s Visual Texts. Reading through Seeing, New Works show monograph, Ooi Botos Gallery. José Parlá Interview by Rey Parlá
Chang, Alexandra. Abstract Exchange: José Parlá. Reading through Seeing, New Works show monograph, Ooi Botos Gallery
Parlá, Rey. Interview: José Parlá and the Bizen Pottery Tradition. Reading through Seeing, New Works show monograph, Ooi Botos Gallery
Nakanishi, Taka. Artist / Artshow. All Rights Reserved, Hong Kong. José Parlá Interview, p.264, 2009
McCormick, Carlo. The Writing Off the Wall. Layered Days show monograph, Cristina Grajales, Inc., 2008
Grajales, Cristina. Introduction, Layered Days show monograph. Cristina Grajales, Inc., 2008
Betancourt, Michael. The Assimilation of Traditions in the Painting of José Parlá
Eigner, Saeb. Foreword, Adaptation / Translation show monograph, 2008
Jones, Paul. Introduction, Adaptation / Translation show monograph, 2008
Jones, Ben. Elms Lesters 25th Anniversary Gallery book. London, UK