Steve Parker Wins 2018 Tito's Prize
Big Medium selects composer/sound artist for $15,000 award
By Robert Faires,
12:10PM, Tue. Jul. 17, 2018
The man who makes music out of grackle calls and bat sounds, who's composed works for zombie trombonists and and a car horn choir, who's made tubascopes and a musical bicycle, has won the second Tito's Prize from art collective Big Medium. Composer/sound artist/curator Steve Parker will receive $15,000 and a major solo show this fall.
Big Medium partnered with Tito Beveridge and Tito's Vodka in 2017 to create the prize, which is dedicated to helping an Austin artist reach a new level in that artist's career. The inaugural recipient was Zack Ingram, whose solo exhibition "Skin Thick" was on display at Big Medium last fall.
Parker was unanimously selected by a panel of three curators: Andrea Mellard, Director of Public Programs & Community Engagement at the Contemporary Austin; Dennis Nance, Galveston Arts Center Curator and artist; and Veronica Roberts, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Blanton Museum of Art. In a release from Big Medium, the panelists praised Parker's desire to "push beyond the boundaries of genres and media towards the pursuit of creativity," called him a "consummate collaborator," and cited his "outstanding commitment to collaborative works that intersect artists and audiences through sound and installation." All noted that Parker's proposal for a multi–faceted exhibition grounded in his acoustic research on the history of conflict presented through sound as a factor in their decision to award him the prize. Parker's solo show will open Fri., Oct. 19, at Big Medium's Canopy gallery and run through the East Austin Studio Tour, Nov. 10-18.
For his part, Parker states in the release, "It's hard to describe how momentous this award will be for my practice. In the short term, it will provide me with the space, financial support, feedback, and platform to develop and refine a new gallery–oriented body of work. Looking forward, I am hopeful this opportunity will help me to wrestle with some fundamental questions in my own work, and in turn, equip me to make a positive, long term impact to some of our city's most pressing artistic, cultural, and social issues.”