Bryan Parnham: a there from here interview

Bryan Parnham

There from Here: conversations with practicing artists

I first encountered Bryan Parnham's work during my time at Penland School of Crafts for their fall concentration.  He was at Penland as part of their CORE fellowship which is a two year program that offers room/board and workshops in exchange for working for the school.  As part of the fellowship the Core fellows put on an annual show.  I was lucky enough to be at Penland when the show was up.  

Bryan's work drew me in with its beautiful textures and captivating narratives.  His designs are clean and the craftsmanship is top-notch.  Bryan has a great eye for patterns and layering processes to create depth in his works.

You can find Bryan's work at the following places.   

All photos curtsy of Bryan Parnham


What were you doing before applying to Penland as a Core Fellow?  

I spent a year in the Penland area working for artists and taking classes.

How did you fit art in and around you life?

Art is really the only thing in my life, everything else sort of takes a back seat.

What prompted you to apply for Penland--did you have a plan b?

I went to school at VCU in Richmond which has a Craft Program. I heard a lot about Penland through professors and students. My back up was to work for a production jeweler in Tennessee.  I was all ready to move there when I found out I was accepted.



What does a day in the life of your job look like--do you keep a schedule?

Wake up and go to the studio until its time to go back to bed. That’s my ideal day but often computer work or everyday stuff gets in the way.

How would you list your job description?

I'm an artist.

What physical space do you have to make your work?

Right now I am using the Penland metals studio. 



How do you come up with projects, or decided which one to do next?

A lot of the decisions get made for me. Right now I am making production jewelry to support myself. When I have the opportunity to make one of a kind work I build off the last product to resolve issues or get closer to my idea. 

What do you do when feeling creative block?

I simplify whenever possible. My creative block usually manifests as a paralyzing abundance of ideas.




Have you ever done commission work--if so, what is your approach to working with clients?  

When I'm approached to make a piece for someone it has to be in line with my interest.   Most of the time that’s what a client wants anyway, something indicative of past work.

How do you price your work?

Intuition, work time, material cost, overhead, perceived value, comparison to other artists prices. Its always a mess but asking peers to weigh in helps tremendously.



Do you have any book, movie, or podcast suggestions (art related or otherwise?)

I'm reading the comics Bone and Apocalypti Girl right now.  Listening to Badbadnotgood, Can, and Battles a lot. Thinking about movies like Holy Motors, Jodorowsky's Dune, and The Master.