"What’s Your Story?" Featuring Artist Parker Lanier

Today's featured artist is a cherished part of my family by marriage as well as my recovery family.  I love Parker's work because it is totally unique, insane, chaotic and makes complete sense to me.  He reminds me of where I have been, and is an living example of how God can turn a mess into a message.  I give you Parker Lanier...

About your work: 


When I got sober my AA sponsor suggested I keep a journal. I didn’t write anything but I did draw some of the other people at the meeting. I wasn’t really a doodler as a child so this was kind of weird. I quickly became “obsessed with” or had the “freedom inside” to create lots of drawings. My pictures are in the outsider vernacular mostly with the theme of recovery. What it was like, what happened and what its like now in my life, provide a lot of subject matter. I also draw strange whimsical do-nothing machines, lucha libre, wizards and old time country music stars.

Where are you located? 

I live in a tiny, art-filled, carriage house apartment on Lake Michigan. Holland actually. I do a lot of trading art with other recovery artists it has been great fun.

What do you create? 

They are genre scenes from the life of an insane, recovering, Blessed alcoholic. My pictures have been described as “Wheres Waldo on acid”. I see influences of R. Crumb, Ralph Stedman, Rube Goldberg and all of the original MAD Magazine artists. I draw on the back/whiteside of mat board. I cut a slightly smaller piece and glue it on a larger piece so the drawing is matted. I draw in roller ball pen and color with sharpies. No pencil sketches. Sometimes I will use stickers or glitter or other stuff.

When and why did you set up your online shop?
   
I started my blog http://www.alcoholicoutsiderartist.blogspot.com about 3 years ago. All of my art is on there along with other outsider and recovery artists friends of mine. I also have interviews with and profiles of other people in recovery that are writers, painters or musicians. I also have features on art behind bars, art of the insane and other artists in special situations. My traffic has taken hold exponentially now. I have no ads and sell nothing on this site. It is completely spam free.

I have sold nearly 500 pieces on ebay and done a good number of special commissions. My art is enjoyed and collected by other alkies and addicts but has a huge following in the folk-art, outsider art and art brut communities. I started selling because creating the stuff is what does me the “good”. It is cathartic. 

How do you promote your creations?

Whatever I post on my blog I immediately share it on twitter, google buzz, stumble upon, digg it and facebook. I also respond to any requests for my comments on art and addiction.

What inspires your work?

My life, recovery and the amazing change that has occurred in it only through God and AA.

What is your must have tool for creating?

Haha, Sharpies.....

Do you have any tips for others wanting to turn their art into a business?

There is a paradox in art just like there is in recovery. Don’t force yourself on people you will scare them away. Be true to yourself, do not give the truth away to make a work saleable. Be comfortable in your own artistic skin and people will be drawn to you and your work.

Extras:
What good books have you read or movies have you seen lately?

I don’t have a TV. I am a magazine freak. I have read a good number of addicts and alcoholics memoirs lately before I review them on my blog. I also like old cowboy books like Louis L’Amour. The last movie I saw was Men Who Stare at Goats (?) with George Clooney. It was fabulous.

Where was your last vacation?

I travel for work last year I spent a week each in Pagosa Springs ColoradoWinnipeg, ManitobaBend, Oregon and Oklahoma City.

What is your favorite pastime outside of creating?

Thrift stores, antique malls and flea marketsAA meetings and work too. I have recently opened http://www.lakeshoreartandantiques.com as a venue to sell some of my accumulated hoard of weird stuff.

Who is your favorite designer/artist?

R. Crumb.
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