Saturday, May 25, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on October 15th, 2008, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 9, Issue 31 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 9, Issue 31

A dash of the surreal

One local artist's colorful work practically drips off of the page


Splash a Disney cartoon character with bright paint, then slowly melt it on a barbecue while listening to one of the trippier Beatles’ albums. Your end result may begin to approach something born from the brain of Brent Parker.

The jack-of-all-visual-artsy-trades, Sun freelancer, and former Santa Maria Arts Council grant recipient is currently showing his work at Allan Hancock College’s Student Center Gallery on the Santa Maria campus. Gallery director Marti Fast was taken with Parker’s work when he received a second-place award from the arts council a couple of years ago, and decided it was time to make the Hancock alumnus’ work into a “great show.”

Cheetah-Insect Faerie
Parker said that the collection, titled Whimsical Surrealism, isn’t his latest work—which he hasn’t yet matted for display—but it represents a good cross section of his recent pieces. His bizarre images are the product of his fertile imagination and varied inspirations, from mythology to Chuck Jones animation to Salvador Dali paintings to Peter Max’s fluid graphics from the ’60s.

The artist synthesizes everything into a pencil sketch, which he scans into a computer. From there, he digitally adds color, texture, and other elements. An insectoid cheetah-faeire creature, for example, has wings made of scanned bubble wrap.

Overall, Parker tries to tell a story with his work, and packs details into every image. He’s also branching into other forms of storytelling by working on a book, a graphic novel, and animation. Where the future ultimately leads him, however, seems to be about as fluid as his characters. Parker said that he applied a second time for a job at Pixar. For now, locals can catch his unique vision at Allan Hancock College.


(Note: to see all the images in this article please check out the slideshow titled "A dash of the surreal" )


Pistachia, Waiting for Guillaume
 INFOBOX: Hello, Dali

See Brent Parker’s show, Whimsical Surrealism, in the Allan Hancock College student center gallery on the Santa Maria campus through the first week of November. For information about the artist—or to see his animations and other work—visit his website at

Executive Editor Ryan Miller remembers Brent Parker from back when. Send comments to

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