Erik Parra

Region: Pacific Coast


City / State: San Francisco, CA

Scouring local resale shops and thrift stores, I mine vintage popular books and magazines for pictures and print ephemera related to the development of modern America. I generally look for familiar-feeling images that relate psychologically to modern experiences of space, and I am particularly interested in images fertile with possibilities for subtle narrative or contextual contradiction.

I cross-reference this found material with related, compositionally appealing images—pulled from the Internet—to create imaginative yet rigorous collages, drawings, paintings, objects, and installations. I try to open up new spaces for productive critical reflection by challenging easy readings of time and place. I advocate for viewing contemporary concerns related to notions of mobility and success through the lens of history. I like to think of this as sort of checking in on the present condition of the American dream.