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John Parker

John Parker’s Biography

Last Updated:
17/05/2019, 1:03 pm
Ceramic Artist and Theatre Designer
Arts Foundation Laureate 2010
John Parker is one of New Zealand’s foremost ceramic artists and an established theatre and exhibition designer.

John Parker began his career in pottery aged 19. He learnt his skills through evening classes with Margaret Milne, then built his first kiln with Grant Hudson and became a member of 12 POTTERS, the first pottery co-op. He studied at Auckland University, joined the World Crafts Council in 1969 and travelled to England to study at the Royal College of Art in London. The College offered a hands on exposure to pottery based more on the European or Bauhaus philosophy of "form follows function", the antithesis of the New Zealand preoccupation with the truth to materials ethos of Leach, Hamada and Anglo-Orientalism. His tutor at the Royal College was Hans Coper.

West Auckland Still Life for Keith & Ernie, 2009

John gained a Master of Fine Arts. He taught in the United Kingdom for a year before returning to New Zealand to take up the post as Director of the Auckland Studio Potters Centre. John has been involved as a juror on major ceramic exhibitions throughout New Zealand. Through this work, and his international connections, John has helped form the direction ceramics have taken within the country.

John's work has been exhibited around the world and is held in many collections. He now exhibits in close to three solo exhibitions within New Zealand annually, and in many local and international group shows. View full list

He has received numerous commissions and won a number of awards for his ceramics, including: the Fletcher Brownbuilt Pottery Merit Award (1979, 1980 and 1985), Merit Award - Royal Easter Show Pottery Awards and Merit Award - Hume Gas Award (1995); Birkenhead Licensing Trust Award and the Royal Easter Show Western Potters Award (1998), Winner of Portage Awards John Green Waitakere Artist Award (2007 and 2009).

At the same time as John was developing his interest in ceramics, John also became interested in theatre design, undertaking design briefs for theatre, opera and musicals. Credits are numerous. Designs range from Hooters, Trumpets and Raspberries at Theatre Corporate, Auckland (1985) to Chess for Stetson Productions, Melbourne (1997) to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Downstage Theatre Wellington (2000) to Cabaret Court Theatre Christchurch (2010) to Cavaleria Rusticana / I Pagliacci for NZOPERA (2011) to Glass Menagerie, Auckland Theatre Company (2013).

View full CV here