Parker Ito

Parker Ito Interview - By Steven Cox

HUNTED PROJECTS presents the work of Parker Ito, an artist whose work is very much defining a generation of artists who are more online than offline, for the work explores digitization, the immaterial and the utilization of digital platforms to display and exhibit digitized artworks.

Ito's work explores context of display, for the Internet and a multitude of contemporary digital technologies have become used to manifest a platform where artwork can be created and exhibited without the need of moving away from ones computer screen.  The context of creation and display has therefore changed.  The creation and viewing of digitized work can be done out with a studio environment and experienced from a desk, sofa or perhaps even the beach.  Artwork, has transcended the traditional mode of interpretation and the translational fissure of what is art, and how it is experienced, has become unbalanced more so now than ever.  There is no correct or incorrect method of display, the boundary of what is idealist has warped and this is what is exciting.  Ito is fully aware of this, as well as many 'post-Internet' artists.  The manner of how artwork is contextualised and experienced has reached a point where the creation of the work takes into the consideration the final documentative process as well as the method of where the work will be displayed and experienced by the viewer within digital networks and social media platforms.

Can you tell HUNTED PROJECTS about yourself and creative background?

PI: I have to start off by saying that I find interviews to be really difficult and that I don´t like talking about my work very much, that´s why I have a twitter.  For this interview I had several ideas like just answering all in jpegs or having someone else answer the questions for me (this is something I have done in the past) but those all fell through.  Each interview I do I try and approach it differently and either sound a lot like myself or a lot not like myself.  

When I was younger I did acting on TV and sang and danced in these big productions.  So I guess I´m sort of classically trained as a performance artist, but I really hate most performance art.  Before I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be a professional skateboarder, which has some creative aspects to it, but I don´t want to give skateboarding too much credit.  Due to the Internet though it seems my generation really has an innate desire to create and share; leisure time is spent being creative and vice versa.  I´m actually working on a "public sculpture" that´s going to take the form of an IPad lounge that is a celebration of these ideas.

When did your interest within the arts begin?

PI: 2005

The Agony and the Ecstasy is the title of your recent solo exhibition at STADIUM in NYC.  The works are created using 3M Scotchlite, which upon photographing, turn your works into highly reflective surfaces of light.  Can you discuss your interest in the experiential disparity of your work viewed in person and through photographic documentation, as the concept behind the work surrounds this concept of experiential divergence? 

PI: I got this idea to try and create artworks that were un-documentable, and then this basically shifted into trying to make art objects where the content of the work was the documentation and that had multiple, unique viewing experiences.  Reflective material offered all of these qualities and I just jumped into that headfirst.  The timing was so perfect, as reflective material seems to be really trending in fashion right now. This makes me feel like I´m the artistic equivalent to Hypebeast or something.  I am passionate about the Internet and making work about the effects that Internet has had on traditional art objects is the most honest thing I can do, even if sometimes I do that under another name.  These paintings and sculptures are made flat, un-stretched.  Water and paint is sprayed through a screen on to the reflective material, which leads to very randomized results.  This reduces the whole process into something very systematic, but also random, and I see this as being similar to how I (we) experience the web through our browsers.

“If it doesn’t exist on the Internet, it doesn’t exist”, is a term that resonates with the underlying theme of your practice.   Can you discuss your thoughts on the importance of artwork existing online?

PI: In my opinion, through its constant documentation, an art object now exists as much online as it does offline. Whether professional or amateur, the capacity for posts on Facebook or links on Twitter to share artworks with a global audience has transformed contemporary art into a cyclical network of documentation. Art since the Internet has become continuously documented, shared and exchanged, which I now visualize as a kind of loop with no ending point or final resting place. All information flows in more than one direction. A lot of times the initiators of these loops are objects, or exhibitions that take place AFK, but this isn’t always true. A website, jpeg, etc. can be the starting point too. I think of the production of an artwork intended for physical exhibition or web-based exhibition simultaneously. I never produce a work that won’t be online. So whether or not it is intended for physical exhibition, its relation to operating in this media distribution loop is embedded in my artistic practice.

Your curated exhibition *new jpegs* saw the documentation of the work become more important than the work in situ itself, for the documentative images were digitally manipulated and re-exhibited.  Can you expand on your interest with artwork owning a new or expanded sense of identity through digital manipulation?

PI: I had always wanted to do a show titled *new jpegs* because it had a nice ring to it. The show is all object based, which is very important to me. Often times people label me as an “Internet Artist,” which is true, but everything is “Internet” now so that distinction is not so important. *new jpegs* took place as the following events: the show is installed, the show gets documented, then the documentation gets manipulated (in Photoshop etc.) to create a new body of works (jpegs) that will be uploaded back online.  It’s all about circles, not straight lines, it’s not important to designate an end; the Internet is like an infinite whirlpool. 

Are the images of New Jpegs still being edited and uploaded to the *new jpegs* website?

PI: Yes!!!! Download exhibition documentation, edit, and send to to be uploaded.

What would you recognize as the ideal starting point for an artwork?

PI: Maybe a tweet or an idea I get about a tweet in the shower.

I am interested in where you position yourself as an artist, for much of your work exists or begins online?

PI: No digital art, no new media, no fetishizing technology. I´m championing the Internet. Until something is more relevant I will champion nothing else.

Can you tell HUNTED PROJECTS what creative projects you have planned for the near future?

PI: I heard that Picasso made around 250,000 works in his lifetime. I could make that many jpgs in like 2 years.

Parker Ito

All images courtesy of Parker Ito.