20.04 | CHEF PARKS: ‘I ALWAYS HELD GRAFFITI CLOSE TO MY HEART, NEVER LEFT IT BEHIND’
A trained chef and also an artist?! How intriguing! We spoke to one of our resident artists, Chef Parks about his fascinating art pieces. The museums might be closed, but what could be better than for BRET, to bring the art to you.
Q – Hey Chef, could you introduce yourself?
A: I've gone by the street moniker Chef Parks for the last 20 years. I like to keep my real identity somewhat secret, so I never share my birth name. I am originally from Southern California, born to immigrant Mexican parents. I have been living around Europe for the last 15 years. I started doing street vandalism in the year, 1993. My friends and I formed a small crew and started writing on things around my neighborhood. We were just young children looking for some mischief, trying to be bad, to be cool.
The years went by and I always held graffiti close to my heart, never left it behind, and eventually got better. In 2004, I moved to Paris to drastically change my life and after that move I really began to take graffiti more seriously. I realized that this is something I could grow in and become a real player in this rapidly expanding subculture. I eventually began to be recognized around the world, commissioned for big projects, selling my artwork, and turning my hobby into something I could make money with. The rest is history.
Q – How long have you been a resident artist at BRET?
A: I have been a resident artist at BRET for almost 4 years now. I am also a trained chef in French Gastronomy from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and originally came to BRET for kitchen consultation. I worked with the chefs there for some time and it was a great experience. When that came to an end, I formed a friendship with the owner, who is a great guy.
So now I do some art projects for and with BRET from time to time. I hope to have an art show there with his wife (who is also an artist) soon, after this Corona mess calms down.
Q – Many of your pieces have an inspiration from the night life and its elements, this one however doesn’t. Could you tell us more about this piece?
A: This piece is titled Flower Power. BRET's mission statement embodies the concept of Flower Power from Mario Brothers. Flower Power is most likely originated from the love movement of the 70's in the United States. Peace, love, and save Mother Earth were the core values, which is not too far from BRET's core values.
The Mario Flower Power is a reference to tapping into your higher conscious self to motivate yourself and others around you to fireball the wasteful, negative, unsustainable obstacles in your life. Be healthy, help the Earth be healthy, and become a responsible sustainable human. We all need to do our part.
Q – There is a certain type of lettering that’s recurring in two of the pieces. Did you design this yourself?
A: I do a lot of Gothic Style letterings. I am from Southern California and the street art culture there is centered around Gothic Style Mexican Gang Affiliated Letterings. My heritage is Mexican, many members of my family were gang affiliated and full of tattoos with Gothic Style letters. My work is heavily influenced by it, but that is not all I do. Though a lot of street artist that reference my work tend to favor my gothic style letterings the most.
Q- From your work, I take it you like the night life. One of your pieces has a mix of Dutch and English. Where did the idea behind this piece come from?
A: This piece, I made shortly after working in the kitchen at BRET. It is an open kitchen, so you are able to see the people dancing and drinking while you cook and serve food. I was able to see first-hand how people really loved the night life here in Amsterdam. There was a lot of good vibes and love in the air. I like how the work Liefde plays off of the word Life. So, the concept of NIGHT LOVE/NIGHT LIFE created Night Liefde in a neon light font, which seemed fitting.
Q – How have you been keeping busy, with the extra time you have now?
A: I have a little girl that just turned 2. She is really high energy, so she takes up most of my time. When she sleeps in the evening, I try to keep my art skills sharp by drawing, creating, and exploring new concepts of street art. This is a perfect opportunity to advance within projects and learn to appreciate the things we took for granted. Like going outside for example. Thank you for this opportunity to share with you a bit of my experience. Viva BRET!!!
Q – So from what I understand you have done commissioned work. Do you still do that? If so, through which medium can you be contacted?
A: It’s been a while since I did any commission work. I have chosen to focus more on my chef’s career and my family. Nevertheless, if a great commission job comes along for the right price, I will accept it with open arms. For business enquiries you can contact me through Instagram, the handle is @foodandmetal. A lot of my work is there and can be viewed. Thank you.