Jan Parker is the first to admit that his artwork is old fashioned. He says, "Look at the sea, it’s old fashioned. The mountains are old fashioned."
Jan was born in 1941 in Southport, England, to an English father and a Danish mother. His parents encouraged him to draw and visit the art museums of London in hopes that the works of the Great Masters would inspire him to develop his inherited artistic ability. His great, great grandfather is credited with the creation of the four life-sized lions that stand guard in front of the Royal Danish Throne in Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark. Another relation, Axel Lassen, is a well-known Danish landscape painter.
While studying at the Willesdan School of Art in London, he was introduced to the work of the French Impressionists. He was greatly impressed by Monet, whose influence was to show in the future of Jan’s paintings. During this time Jan was devoting more time to drawings and cartoons, since he was actually making a living by selling them to several European newspapers. This eventually led him to book illustration. Illustrating children’s books gave him a chance to enter the world of children, a place that he found comforting as well as introspective. It is because of this experience that Jan paints the world as seen through the eyes of a child who views everything in wonder, innocence, and love.
Jan was commissioned to illustrate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book The First Circle as well as the world’s first full-color paperback book, Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece. Film director Stanley Kubrick asked Jan to record, through paintings and drawings, the production of his classic science fiction movie "2001: A Space Odyssey." In 1975, Jan was commissioned by The International Cultural Foundation to paint the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1980, he moved to New York and decided to devote himself entirely to painting. He moved his canvases outdoors and painted directly from nature, as the French Impressionists had. Getting close to nature, even in the freezing cold of upstate New York, seemed to be the perfect formula for his art. In 1982, his oil paintings were shown at The Horizon Gallery in New York. This led to successful shows in Houston and Dallas, Texas.
In 1984, after his wrists were injured in an accident, it became painful for him to paint in cold weather. On impulse, he and his family moved to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Jan currently resides on the island of Maui, where the paradise of mountains, rainbows, and flora are a constant source of inspiration in his vibrant paintings. Drawing his inspiration from the Upcountry slopes of Haleakala, the vivid hues of tropical flowers compel Jan to explore the use of color in bold and unexpected ways!
Jan’s work is exhilarating, conveying beautiful, strangely exotic blooms interpreted romantically. It is with great pride that Lahaina Galleries represents the joyful creations of Contemporary Fauvist, Jan Parker.