Mike Parillo

b. 1972, Los Angeles, CA
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA

Paintings are supposed to stand out, yet they are also expected to fit in with certain accepted modes of representation, certain historical narratives, and art world conventions about what a painting should look like. Parillo’s camouflage paintings are striking, but they don’t quite fit in with these conventions. They have no focal points and little hierarchal organization to guide the viewer’s eye around each composition. In addition to counteracting the normal conventions of camouflage, they also defy the basic conventions of painting in a way that jeopardizes, but doesn’t erode, their appeal. While Parillo’s willingness to take painterly risks is interesting and befitting of his camouflage series, these conventions exist for important reasons, and pushing their limits too far could collapse the allure and compromise the meaning of his future paintings.

Careful What You Wish For, Parillo’s dystopic portrayal of an explosion rendered in an acid rainbow of digitalesque ribbons and neon clouds. The explosion appears to be consuming architectural forms including a diving board, a set of stairs, a scaffold, and a hospital sign. A sign above the hospital sign reading “All In,” in conjunction with the painting’s title, betokens Parillo’s interest in risk and failure. The world inside this painting is disintegrating, but its destruction takes on a superficial attractiveness whose discord with the depicted violence makes it all the more unsettling.

-Annabel Osberg

Mike Parillo is a self-taught Los Angeles-based artist. He began painting in the 1990s while working as a commercial artist in the action sports industry, developing a distinct flat painting style hallmarked by crisp lines and graphic forms. The cacophonies of competing colors, patterns, and forms shape an ongoing narrative about the concepts of failure and success. Executed with frenetic brush strokes sometimes combined with pull and pour techniques, Parillo creates paintings with his preferred palette of Day-Glo and metallic oil and/or acrylic paints. He has collaborated with iconic action sports brands such as Volcom and Lib Technologies for over two decades. Parillo has been published on the Huffington Post, Hi-Fructose, and Cool Hunting.