Image courtesy of Kelly O'Connor.

At Home: Justin Parr

Justin Parr lives and works in Hot Wells, Texas.

Have you picked up any new hobbies?

I’ve been studying Japanese Shibori and how it relates to the rather mysterious “Kinney Style” of tie-dyeing fabric; I’m determined to try it once I can get a better understanding of the technique. I’ve also started a row farm on the back of my property and have been re-engaging with my obsession with organic soil amendments and soil building in the process. Lastly, this has been an excellent season for wild blackberries, and quite often my mornings have been filled with foraging along the San Antonio River and its tributaries for blackberries and mulberries.

Is there a particular project for work, either new or ongoing, that is capturing your attention? What is it, and why are you drawn to work on it at this moment?

Right now, I’m torn between two different impulses: the first is to stay in my glass studio and use this relatively focused and quiet time for myself to improve my work in ways I can’t normally focus on. The second is a mysterious project I’ve been conjuring up for a few years with a friend of mine using found objects in a large industrial space that has been made available to me temporarily. It would be a massive undertaking during a pandemic, and the challenge of trying to see it through is definitely pulling me. The idea of creating something on a massive scale, alone, and without the possibility of a group of visitors ever viewing it “together” is also part of the pull.

What is the best meal you have made during this time?

The best so far was a relatively simple one – a smoked ring of spicy venison sausage served with a salad of garden greens and some smashed peas cooked in lamb stock. Having never used it before this quarantine period, the Instapot has become a daily part of my cooking challenge and keeps me experimenting often. Also, canning / preserving all of those wild berries I talked about above has kept me full of biscuits and jelly!

What are you most looking forward to after being at home?

Seeing friends, hugging friends, going out to eat, traveling, shopping for groceries. Opening the art gallery again, having an opening, attending other artist’s openings! Hugging my mom.

What gives you hope (if anything) about Art today?

Outside of being inspiring and important in the ways that art is important to our everyday lives, I’m hopeful that somehow art can help us teach the world critical thinking. I’ve been asking friends the question for quite some time. – “How do we teach critical thinking through our work?” Through an image? Through an Instagram post? Through a meme? I believe it’s how art can save the world…at least a little bit.