Parker; Richard Stark
Inkjet on watercolour paper
90 x 60 centimetres
Parker is the criminal protagonist of a series of novels by Richard Stark, a nom de plume of Donald Westlake. He is an amoral blank who is ruthless and efficient in his pursuit of money, an existentialist everyman inhabiting a landscape of generic American towns, a man seemingly without identity and emotion.
The criminal tools of the trade are a gun and a car, hence the choice of situating Parker scoping out a vehicle in what is usually regarded as a blot on any urban landscape, a car sales yard. The yard is imprisoned by the concrete slab walls of adjoining factories, an aesthetic solution but also a practical solution that obviated the need for crafting a credible surrounding landscape. The aesthetic of this cityscape was informed by a series of photos by the photographer, Stephen Shore, in his book, Uncommon Places, a fascinating compendium of an unlovely urban America which is precisely the sort of world that Parker would inhabit. The inflatable advertising man was an irresistible inclusion, an excuse for which I have long awaited which in this context provides a cartoonish counterpoint to this desolate scene. For people who may wonder if Thavroh Motors exists, it is an anagram of my surname because I was at a loss to think of an original and pertinent name and the posters of the two cars on the office wall are not an arbitrary choice, they are the brands of vehicles I own.
Parker doesn’t age in the books which were published over a period of 45 years, he is described as being 38 - 40 years old which jibes pretty much the way he is depicted here. When I was planning this print I heard the news about the prison sentence handed out to the former Australian rogue cop, Roger Rogerson, for the murder of a drug dealer. Rogerson is a septuagenarian and I was intrigued by the thought that at his age he was still an active criminal, hence I would have preferred to portray Parker as an older man but sadly the figure modelling software I used couldn’t age him credibly.The Man with Flawed Onyx Eyes; Ian Sansom: The Guardian
Stephen Shore; Uncommon Places: American Suburb X