The new Bravo television show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist is produced by Sarah Jessica Parker and has four Illinois contestants competing for $100,000 and a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum. John Parot is a triple threat, being from Dekalb, gay and talented!
WCT: (Windy City Times) Hello, John. Where in the world are you?
JP: (John Parot) I am in Los Angeles.
WCT: You moved there from Chicago?
JP: Yes. I am originally from Chicago. My family is still there. I will be visiting my folks this weekend. I moved to Los Angeles almost two years ago.
WCT: Do you like the weather better?
JP: I am lot more productive in L.A. I will say that. There is no excuse like, “It is too cold out.” I have spent a good portion of my life in the Chicago area. I got a free move out to the West Coast so I just decided to go for it.
WCT: You are an art manager out there, right?
WCT: What medium do you prefer?
JP: I do a lot of painting and drawing. I paint on paper and canvas. My art shows can be anything from a full-blown art instillation with sculpture, painting and drawing to pen and ink.
WCT: What artists inspire you?
JP: I am inspired by Chicago artists Roger Brown and Christina Ramberg. I also like classic artists such as Joe Brainard and Ray Johnston. These artists paved the road for gay artists like me. Joe Brainard was a gay artist living in New York during the early fifties. Ray Johnston was a friend with Warhol, a quiet gay guy who painted and drew. They had so much to overcome.
WCT: You say you want to integrate the gay community into your work. How do you do that?
JP: I think we live in a fascinating time. We have achieved so much but we have so much more to achieve. I try to use my life experiences and my friend’s experiences and try to incorporate those ups and downs. So if it’s things my friends tell me or conversations in the bar or things that happen right before me in Boystown from Little Jim’s to Sidetrack, it all gets processed through me.
WCT: We are the same age so we have seen the gay community change a lot.
JP: It is kind of fascinating because when I grew up and was coming out, I felt like I was paralyzed by the entire AIDS crisis. Just as I was discovering my sexuality, I was also learning that people could die from HIV and gay related activities. That pushed me back into the closet. Now we see gays being accepted on mainstream TV and here we are now trying to get equal rights for marriage. We have seen a lot of ups and downs. It was an interesting time that we grew up in.
WCT: What made you want to do Work of Art?
JP: I had been primarily a Chicago artist and I thought that being on the show would give me more exposure through the artwork in other regions of the country. I thought it would be cool for my friends to see me on TV and represent the community as a gay artist.
WCT: Did you like meeting people from the show?
JP: I am an artist and I have a strong belief that there is not good or bad art. There is room for everyone. It was great meeting artists from all over the country and getting to know their stories. My artwork has not been judged by judges before, so we were all in it together.
WCT: We had a good representation. Usually with reality shows we get one Chicago contestant.
JP: Yes, that was surprising on the first day that a lot of people knew what I was talking about. It gave us something to bond over.
WCT: You were the only gay guy on the show. With shows such as Project Runway there are at least four homos!
JP: It was rough sometimes. We, as gay men, have a superior humor and charm than everyone else on the planet so sometimes they didn’t get my comments. I felt alone and like, “Can I get an amen in here? Hello, anybody home?”
WCT: If it makes you feel any better, I tracked you down because you are gay and from Illinois.
JP: From years of reading Windy City Times, it is an honor to be in the publication.
“Watch what happens” to John Wednesdays on the Bravo Channel. Check www.bravotv.com for details.