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Dr. Parrish Monk is a professional, self-taught, working and vending multi-media artist and artisan. Parrish is also an educational consultant, learning and development expert, curriculum designer and an adult educator. To accompany his MBA in Human resources and his Ed.D in Educational Leadership from Northern Kentucky University, Parrish is currently working on another degree in graphic arts which he intends to use to create, illustrate and publish his own children’s books, graphic novels, and transformative adult education curriculum.
As a husband and father of three sons, ages 28, 27 and 16, Parrish primarily focuses his energy on helping take care of his youngest son who is on Autism Spectrum. As an adult educator, Parrish works diligently to help empower adult learners by helping to provide his students with equitable access to educational and employment opportunities and needed resources. Parrish is equally passionate about education, social justice and art; fields of humor endeavor which allow Parrish to help enrich the lives of others. Something him and his wife have been doing for over two decades.
Since first showing his art at Mudlark Pottery Studio and Gallery in Warsaw Kentucky and the Gallery Experience in Cincinnati Ohio in 2012, Parrish has sold over 533 pieces of original art across the globe. Parrish went from selling his artwork on a street corner in Cincinnati in 2011 to having his worked purchased by colectors globally, HBO and even gracing the cover of several published books. After years of being in multiple galleries and shows (e.g., Newport Art Gallery, the Gallery Experience, Mudlark Pottery Studio and Gallery, Under the Stars, Lydia’s on Ludlow, Caffé Vivace, Lux Art Gallery, Inspirado @the Madison Gallery, The Art House in Fort Thomas, The Covington Makers Mart et cetera) Parrish still considers himself to be a working and vending artists which he thoroughly enjoys at the moment. As a recent transplant to Oviedo Florida, Parrish’s work can now be seen at Gallery on First in Sanford Florida.
Parrish’s work includes: handmade one of-a-kind pieces of jewelry from his ManHandled Jewelry™ line; his unique, hand tied hybrid fiber art scarves he calls ManHandled Mufflers©; pottery and ceramicware; clay and mixed media sculptures; upcycled wood artwork; and of course, his unique paintings.
Parrish’s paintings often included: upcycled materials, impasto, sheet music, mixed-media and other additives and specialized paints and experimental painting techniques. Many of his paintings are often very heavily textured and look and behave more like 3D wall sculptures. There is an inherent vulnerability in Parrish’s art, which reveals his soul, passion, and faith to share new works which are often experimental in nature. Parrish’s ability to tell a story using mixed media creates an opportunity for conversation, authentic human connection while giving the viewer a glimpse into raw, unfettered creativity.
Viewers and visitors alike, immediately notice that Parrish does not stick to one theme, style, color palette, or medium. They also notice that the work is original even if it is part of an ongoing series. For those that can truly appreciate it, they know they are getting a one-of-a-kind original work of art. Parrish DOES NOT make prints of his work but instead provides his clients and collectors with affordable original pieces of art. His business tagline says it all, “Be Unique, Buy Original™”.
Considered by many art critics and reviewers as a promising African-American artist, Parrish remarks that he slowly began his journey as an artist in November 2011 when he finally overcame his paralyzing fear of sharing his artwork publicly and being criticized for not being a trained artist with an impressive pedigree. Being a late bloomer, Parrish did not unleash his full creativity until later on in his life.
In an interview Parrish recalled a moment when he first felt a strong urge to be creative. This moment occurred when his wife was in the midst of battling against breast cancer. Parrish needed to be present in his own home and calm during this storm and began creating art as an outlet while at home.
Notably, the turning point in his art career was when his full-time employer of 7 years suddenly closed their college campus down in December 31, 2013. Parrish went form being a college Dean of Business Management and Department Chair for General Education to suddenly unemployed and trying to manage a quickly dwindling severance in a saturated job market. At that moment, Parrish then became a full-time artist on January 1, 2014.
With his last day of a seemingly secure full-time job behind him, his choice was simple, he needed to focus on his future and taking care of his family with the God-given gifts he possessed. Parrish also needed to maintain his autonomy and have control over his time in order to take care of his wife and be present for Autistic son. Becoming a serious, focused full-time working artist was the pathway forward for Parrish. This is what inspired him then and continues to inspire him today.