We caught up with the Leeds born artist, Josh Parkin, aka Josh Parky Art for our latest ‘How I Got Here’ feature.
Based out of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, Josh Parkin has become a highly respected name in the creative world of freelance illustration. Josh Parky Art has become a household name for those involved with the sneaker scene and streetwear industry, with Josh putting his own unique creative spin on various projects. Clients and collaborations past and present have included the likes of adidas, Barbour, The North Face, PUMA, Nike, & Footasylum.
So first of all how did you get into illustration and who/what inspired you to take it up as a career?
My story is similar to a lot of other artists. As cliché as it sounds, I have literally always drawn. My earliest memories as a kid would be coming home from school, setting up at the kitchen table and drawing until night. I’d be surrounded by a variation of pens and pencils, with tracing paper, sketchbooks and scrap papers scattered taking over the whole table. My mum always used to tell me off as I refused to use the other side of the paper, as it wasn’t perfect and you could see what was drawn on the reverse side. It wasn’t really until art collage that it dawned on me that I could potentially make a career out of this thing I loved. Top 5 artists who’s work I fell in love with around that time were Dave White, Pete McKee, Mike Giant, Jeremyville and Ben Lamb.
What’s been going down in the world of Josh Parky Art so far for 2019?
It’s been a really strong year so far. I’ve worked with Puma, New Era, Farah, xBox and Sprayway. I’ve also had an amazing opportunity to work with HABYT: who are a company that specialises in short term accommodation with hundreds of rooms available across Europe. Together with those guys we are creating exhibitions of my work, which are bespoke to the city they are situated. There are a few other things which are still to be confirmed, so keep your eyes peeled!
Your work has a clear ‘street level’ vibe to it, where does your daily inspiration come from?
I love to create illustrations in response to things that interest me. If I was working on a personal project, my go to area would be men’s fashion; I also find myself experimenting with women’s fashions more recently. As well as football, American sports, music and city landmarks to name a few. I also love to take inspiration from people I see on every day commutes. I like to make a mental note, and draw them up once I hit the studio. Alternatively, if I’m on a train for example, I’ll make a quick sketch to refer back to.
I believe you are a big Air Max fan, what are you top 5 Air Max styles of all time?
I’d say I’m just a fan of footwear in general. I love everything from the background stories, to design element sand materials. I would never restrict myself to one brand or model.
Although, the top 5 Air max models for me are:
1- Air Max 95 OG Neon
2- Air Max 95 OG Neon
3- Air Max 95 OG Neon
4- Air Max 95 OG Neon
5- Air Max 95 OG Neon
“There will be weeks and even months where you’re quiet and don’t have work, so surround yourself with people that will back you and encourage you to keep going.”
Josh Parky Art
What advice would you give to up and coming illustrators who are trying to crack the industry?
Just to stay consistent with the work. Don’t be put off if something you put out to the world isn’t received how you thought it would be. Keep pushing on through the hard times. There will be weeks and even months where you’re quiet and don’t have work, so surround yourself with people that will back you and encourage you to keep going.
Where do you see the streetwear industry itself changing over the next 5 years from a creative perspective?
I honestly don’t know. I dread to think how much trainers will cost in 5 years time! What ever happens, I’ll still be here sat in my studio reacting to the latest ‘hype’ releases through my illustrations. Maybe all releases will be unisex, rather than mens and womens colourways and sizes? Maybe Nike will have finally re-released the Air Max 95 OG Neon!
What do you do when you are not drawing?
I like to run. It’s an amazing way to un-jumble all the crazy ideas I have running around my head at any one time. There’s no better way to distress and plan than a 10 mile run on your own with your favourite album playing. I’m a long-suffering Leeds United fan, so I go there every other weekend to sigh quite a bit. I’m really lucky too, as we live on the doorstep of The Hepworth Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, so quite often I’m kicking around there.
If you could only draw one particular style, subculture etc for the rest of your drawing career what would it be and why?
The commission style I have been developing ever since university, black ink on paper for sure! It’s my signature style, once you see that you know its mine. It’s the most natural and raw way of creating art for me, personally. I think my best work comes from the pressure of knowing any sort of mistake, whether it be a wrong pen line or ink smudge, would mean I’d have to scrap the whole piece and start again, no matter if it was 5% complete or 95% complete. People are most reactive to that style too. I do a lot of commissions for gifts, as well as live-drawing events using this style, so I’d say it’s my most versatile form.