Imagine a dedicated and nationally recognized emerging artist endeavoring
to take to the open road over two years with the sole vision and purpose
of documenting National Park Service’s 58 diverse National Parks,
spanning from Hawaii to The Everglades, through painting, photography
and writing. Imagine thousands of miles logged in a specially-outfitted
Jeep, a traveling art studio and self-contained home. Imagine this artist
being dropped into Alaskan tundra, or gliding across the waters of Acadia
National park in silent kayak, with paintbrush and easel as his most essential
To imagine this is to begin to realize the scope of the undertaking which
Scott W. Parker committed himself to, and brought to fruition.
From September 2002 until September of 2004, Colorado-born and Chicago-based
artist Parker shuttered his studio and began his journey, which has taken
him twice across the United States and back on his quest to document his
Of the hundreds of parks overseen by the National Park Service’s
system, which covers National Forest, Seashore, Historic Sites, and dozens
of other designations, Parker chose to focus on portraying all 58 of the
officially-designated National Parks. This undertaking allows for, in
his words, “the raw and natural beauty within each of our country’s
regions to be accurately represented.”
In the two years of the project, Parker completed over 180 works, some
of which depict beloved and well-known parks such as Yellowstone, Glacier,
Zion, the Great Smokey Mountains and Grand Teton, while others document
far-flung and less-known parks, such as the outer reaches of Kenai Fjord,
Alaska, the Badlands, Dry Tortugas, Petrified Forest, and Guadalupe Mountains.
In addition to working in oils, Parker worked in pastel, photography and
writing, creating an in-depth documentation of each park he has visited.
He meticulously selected sites off the main roads and beaten paths of
each park, in order to bring viewers deep into the landscapes which each
Each work stands alone as a strong piece, but when brought together as
a collection, the result is extraordinarily powerful.
Parker’s signature painting style of bold lines, strong color, and
interpretative landscape is immediately recognizable to those who have
followed and collected his work over his 10-year career. In particular,
the art community of Chicago, where Parker based his studio after earning
has BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is taking note.
Parker has built a strong and steady following, and his works have been
shown in independent and group exhibitions across the country. Notable
collections of his work completed prior to the National Parks Project
include the Forbes Collection in New York; the Anschutz Collection in
Denver; and, Booz, Allen and Hamilton in Chicago.
The integrity of the project is tied to his passionate vision of capturing
the diversity of our most prized National assets. “It is my hope
that these pieces will ultimately create in the audience a sense of appreciation
for our American treasures, and foster a desire to learn more about these
and other natural sanctuaries,” notes Parker, whose goal is to bring
this collection to audiences across the country to be used as a powerful
educational tool. He hopes, as well, that his project will inspire his
audience to “get outside and explore.”
Parker completed the project in two years, (almost to the day!) just as
he had set out to do. Fall, 2004, found Scott moving from one wilderness
environment to another: New York City, where he has setup his studio.
Scott can be reached at email@example.com.