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David Parrish (born 1939) is an important first generation Photorealist painter. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he distinguished himself by creating intricate motorcycle paintings and delicate still lifes of Marilyn Monroe sculptures. Other iconic personalities, such as Elvis Presley, also became subjects of David Parrish’s bright and skillfully crafted paintings. Parrish’s artwork can be associated with Americana work and Photorealism. It is  lively and invigorating and an important example of the expression that is possible within the objective art of Photorealism.

David Parrish was born in 1939 in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1957, he attended Washington and Lee University in Virginia. In 1961, he earned his Bachelors of fine arts at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa.

Parrish lives in Alabama.


“Four decades as an “official” Photorealist–the early decades spent chasing, photographing, and painting motorcycles…Then later, the porcelain Elvises, Marilyns, Deans, the masks, and myriad kitschy gewgaws, toys, and thrill rides that were such fun to paint–time has passed so quickly.

Now a fifth decade, I hope, and thanks to a generous friend who encouraged me to enter the new age, I have a PC, a printer, and a couple of point-and-shoot digital cameras–a whole new way to view the world! Small, lightweight, and very portable–I carry a digital camera everywhere I go.

Today I’m working on another motorcycle painting again, at the same old stand, in the same old way, translating a photo image onto canvas with oil paint and sable brushes, but I’ve got a whole new toolbox full of goodies to help me accomplish the task a little bit more easily, and it’s beginning to feel like the good old days all over again.”

-David Parrish, from the book Photorealism in the Digital Age © 2013

Citation: Bernarducci, Frank, Harris, Elizabeth K., and Meisel, Louis K. Photorealism in the Digital Age. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 2013.

2018 – “Pavement to Pavement,” Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

2014 – “Photorealism: The Everyday Illuminated,” Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California

2003- Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

1997 – “Photorealism,” Jaffe Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida

1997 – “David Parrish: Paintings,” Georgetown College Gallery, Georgetown, Kentucky

1996 – “David Parrish: Photorealism,” Westpac Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne, Australia

1996 – “Attention to Detail (Realism in All Forms),” Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

1992/93 – Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

1990/91 – Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, New York

1987 – Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, South Carolina

1981 – Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, New York

1981 – “David Parrish,” Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama; Travelled to: Hunstville Museum of Art, Huntsville, Alabama; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama

1980 – “Major New Works,” Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, New York

1977 – Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, Alabama

1975 – Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, New York

1973 – Galerie André-Francois Petit, Paris, France

1972 – French & Company, New York, New York

1971 – Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee