“I tend to try and look forward”. Artist of the Week – Tony Parsons

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Today’s edition of Brighton Journal’s Artist of the Week explores the life and artwork of the fine artist, Tony Parsons. Tony’s artwork specialises in encapsulating the outdoors, impressionist figurative life work, and landscape paintings.

 

Tony was born and grew up in Brighton, where he now resides with his family. His love of the sea was established in Brighton from a young age and continued while he sailed all around the world in his youth. “I’ve been a lifeboatman since the day I turned 17. It gives me a unique connection with Brighton and a sense of belonging to the town as well as working with a great team.”

 

Artist: Tony Parsons

 

“For the last couple of years I have been living on a giant sailing catamaran but we’re in a flat now”, Tony explained how his love of the ocean knows no bounds, but he and his family moved in preparation for the birth of their third child. “My eight-year-old son is distraught as he loved the boat life!” The sea is manifest in much of his work, as nowadays he often stations himself somewhere along Brighton Seafront to capture the vista in front of him.

 

Beginning his practice in art as a caricaturist, he utilised his skills as a paid professional artist at function events. “At the height of it, I was drawing at 50 weddings a year. I found that this was incompatible with a young family which is why I started creating art on my own terms.”

 

Tony will still occasionally take his painting rig to a wedding or party, creating a completely unique piece to remember the event by for the commissioner. Now, he paints mostly seascapes for various galleries around the UK, also creating studies of figures and animals for selling online.

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Artist: Tony Parsons

 

“I enjoy happy accidents, surprise outcomes, and I also enjoy my painting mistakes!”

“I like to use large brushes and capture the atmosphere rather than huge amounts of detail”, Tony said amongst his favourite Brighton locations to paint are West Pier, the Bandstand, and Kings Road. “I regard my outdoor painting as a form of visual note taking, a way of recording how it felt to be there. I aim to put down all the things you wouldn’t absorb from staring at a photo.”

 

It is clear Tony immerses his work in his surroundings, and that place most of the time is Brighton and Hove. “It’s nice to be able to get beneath the skin of Brighton and start describing the fantastic everyday detail that you only get from living here.”

 

Artist: Tony Parsons

 

Although Tony described a recent visit to an impressionist exhibition, he downplayed focusing solely on the great artists from the past. Instead, Tony gets most of his inspiration from artists on Instagram. “Fame gives works and artists a patina that is very hard to see through. Currently, I’m following the likes of Peter Wileman, Pete Brown, Ruo Li, Scott Christensen, Kathleen Dunphy, and Tom Hughes.”

 

Tony articulated how his enjoyment of painting resides in overcoming the challenge of the piece: “I work with mass and colour temperature and try and get away from drawing an outline and colouring it in. I enjoy happy accidents, surprise outcomes, and I also enjoy my painting mistakes!”

 

Artist: Tony Parsons

 

“It’s nice to be able to get beneath the skin of Brighton and start describing the fantastic everyday detail that you only get from living here.”

Tony very humbly did not highlight any of his favourite pieces, describing his outlook as progressive. “I tend to try and look forward. I don’t like being surrounded by my work, I find the creating is the fun bit.” Although, the painter receives very warm accolades of appreciation from people on Facebook and Instagram.

 

“I would like to nominate JonPaul McCarthy, a caricaturist who is relatively new to the town but now organises a yearly caricature convention in the White Cliffs cafe in Saltdean.” Keep an eye open for Tony’s work, which can be found on Facebook groups and Instagram as his vast span of work continues to grow.

 

Tony’s work is available to view at the Artists’ Quarter, Facebook, Instagram, or on his website.

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