Peter Parsons (1951–1993) was a ceramic artist.
A large number of cartons, albums and a trunk containing diaries, personal notes, schematic sketches and prototypes of some of his finished pieces was found in 2008 which, for a non commercial artist is proving an invaluable insight into the thought processes of an artist representative of the sub culture that flourished in the fabled sixties and seventies.
Life and work
Parsons was a prolific ceramic artist whose works spanned several decades up until the last year of his life.
Peter Parsons was born in Sydney, Australia. His paternal great-grandfather was of Chinese origin who came to work the gold fields during the nineteenth century.
His ceramic ideas reflect a fantasy world. In his youth he created a make-believe Atlantis city in the backyard of his family home. This city was built over a number of years and this extensive collection of buildings became the embryonic forms that later developed into his castle series. His artistic talent could be seen even in these early years.
In the early '70s Parsons studied pottery and sculpture in the Blue Mountains area and in Sydney. In 1972-73 he travelled to New Guinea and the impact and influence of this time can clearly be seen in his work. As a young teenager he travelled following the path of the old silk road to Europe by backpacking and hitchhiking. Later in 1974-76 he embarked upon a European study tour. While in Europe he was part of an exhibition of paintings and drawings in Helsinki. Upon returning to Sydney he tutored in hand built ceramics in Katoomba. For a number of years he took part in group shows in Springwood and the King Street Studios in Newtown. As well as being included in the much anticipated annual Inner City Clay Workers Teapot Show which is by invitation only.
In the mid to late 1980s he had a number of solo exhibitions in the King Street Gallery, Newtown and on Burton.
There is no definable style to categorise Parsons' works. His themes depended on where and what stage of his life he was at when the creative urge grabbed him.
For the most part his work is unpretentious, sculptural, non-functional and could be described as intricate, organic, playful and whimsical. It has certainly delighted and fascinated collectors. An artistic idea could last for a few weeks or develop into something so complex it would take years to exhaust.
Parsons, though prolific in his output, was not a commercial artist. He reluctantly accepted commissions. The rare exception were his castle series.
1992 Going Potty, a group exhibition. From the almost practical to the downright outrageous, the 1992 Sydney Teapot Show had something for everyone. Held at the Inner City Clay Workers Gallery in Glebe, the Sydney exhibition features the work of some of the country's leading ceramists, who exhibit by invitation only.
1990 Exhibition Featuring Tutors Work: Craft a Christmas Treat at the Roundhouse Gallery, University of NSW.
1986 Ceramics in Barococco Forms (The Bizarre & Obscene).
Date Unknown. Prehistoric Armour-Plated Fish Things.
Co-exhibitor Peter Parsons has orbs and orb like amphoras studded with discs or wearing ceramic mohawk hair adornemmts. Some could be skinhead bomabardiers, but actually are not so grossly vulgar except that they are vulgarly cheap. Some melanges of hybrid buildings of various epochs like the KAFKAESQUE MEDIAEVAL CASTLE ($150), are clever bits of fun mixed with scariness. Elwyn Lynn Review 'The Weekend Australian' February 16–17, 1991
- The Peter Parsons Website. Welcome to the wonderful and bizarre artistic world of Peter Parsons.
- State Library of NSW "Peter parsons Ceramic Sculptural Pieces"