Go ‘tenderly’ to Balboa Park for new art exhibit


Ready to push your boundaries and test your comfort level? The new pop-up exhibition entitled Tendrement at the San Diego Art Institute features artists questioning the social norms and our visceral sensations of discomfort and avoidance.

Tendrement, which means “tenderly” in French, will include performance and visual art, including sculpture, photography, video, and projection mapping. On opening night, March 24, visitors can enjoy performances, immersive installations, and a dance party DJ’d by London’s Perth Records artists Merca Bae, Perth Daijing and Yegua, and San Diego’s own Laje and Umenos.

Artists featured in the show include Carlos Castro Arias, Stinky Brat, Daniel Barron Corrales, Parker Day, Mauro Doñate, Echavox_06668801, Elsoldelrac, Fecal Matter, Luis Pinto, Luis Alonso Sanchez, Stephanie Sarley, S280F and YENTA.

PACIFIC recently caught up with Parker Day, a photographer who is displaying six of her works in Tendrement, to find out more about her work and the exhibition, which is intended for mature audiences.

PACIFIC: How does the title of the show, Tendrement relate to your work?

PARKER DAY: My series in show is called Possession, and is about being incarnate in physical form. Having a body means being soft and vulnerable. But there’s also a dark side, and I like the dichotomy of also being sinister.

Your photos are colorful, highly stylized and full of detail. How long is the process from thought to finish? Days, weeks, months?

There is a lot of pre-production, so I am always taking notes and saving images that are inspirational. It varies, sometimes I have to wait for the right model. I know what I want, and I like to stay nimble and open. But the shoot itself is pretty quick, capturing the energy of the moment is key and with a short shoot I feel like I accomplish that.

How close is the finished product to the idea? Does it morph in the process?

For the most part, it stays pretty true. And my practice is more like painting rather than a documentary photographer. I am piecing together a reality, I’m not just stumbling upon something.

How do you pick your color backgrounds? Does color theory come into play?

Oh yes. The reason I use color is it’s viscerally satisfying and it has this candy coating that lures you in, but then gives you something darker underneath. Like rat poison in a candy shell.

Is shock value part of the process of your creation?

I do like very grabby imagery, like advertising, it’s what I’m drawn to. I never seek out to shock and offend, and sometimes I ask myself, “What are you getting up to?” It’s just a natural function of the mind, it’s not intentional.

Did you go to art school?

I went to the Academy of Art in San Francisco, but I was too strange for school.

Favorite artist of all time?

Francis Bacon.

What is the inspiration for Possession?

My last series was about costuming and putting on an identity. I wanted to strip that down, and how we are not our body, but we are clothed in flesh. I like the body being a part of our experience, but we are not just that. Thinking about the body as this living form, but also hinting at malevolent spiritual possession, that’s fun to play with.

Who are your influences in art, David LaChapelle, other photographers?

Definitely LaChapelle, when I was 13 I had his photos all over my walls, also Cindy Sherman, John Waters, (Quentin) Tarantino, and those who work with eccentric characters.


When: Saturday, March 24 (opening reception from 7 p.m. to midnight) through April 8

Where: San Diego Art Institute, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park

Cost: $5 (students, seniors, military), $3 (members)


Note: This exhibition is intended for mature audiences.