Julio Parra

His paintings provide a lens through which to view capitalism, urban beauty and decay

Julio Parra, a contemporary Colombian artist based in Medellín, has achieved huge success in his short life. With numerous sell out exhibitions, awards and accolades under his belt, Parra’s vibrant and rebellious style has resulted in him being coined the “Colombian Basquiat”.

Parra’s effervescent scribbles and brushstrokes splashed against a lightly hued often stark white backdrop reflects his more positive and less racially charged view on the world, that Basquiat portrayed in his all consuming, somewhat sombre and dark canvases. Parra’s works of raw innocence and tone of authenticity reflect inspiration to the primitivism of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. His work, however, has a more innate, powerful and instinctive foundation interwoven into a bold and contemporary form of primitivism, showing a strong communicative message with elements of coded content to his work.

His paintings provide a lens through which to view capitalism, urban beauty and decay, and the social and economic inequality and exploitation in Latin American society. Parra’s work often depicts mundane items and consumer products working together in juxtaposition to socio-economically charged effigies. Small clips of montage images often make up Parra’s work and they represent memories and visual brain data, often more than one figure is represented and used as a reflection to express the other side of the coin.

Parra’s art is already reaching elevated heights in the Colombian art scene. He is becoming an iconic artist and a constant source of inspiration for his peers. He continues to captivate his audience with unique subject matter and emotionally charged references to a society seeking to find its balance between the dark undercurrents of Colombian society and the idyllic land where the beautiful term “Magic Realism” was coined.