If you’ve walked through the halls of a DeKalb County Public School recently, you likely have seen murals of mascots and more that were painted by local artist Phillip Parker.
Parker’s artwork can be seen in schools such as Stephenson Middle and Stephenson High in Stone Mountain, Princeton Elementary and Shadow Rock Elementary in Lithonia, and most recently, Ronald E. McNair High in Atlanta.
At McNair High, Parker has transformed the gymnasium into a coliseum with the stroke of a paintbrush. In the gym lobby, he painted a mural that features their mascot, a Mustang bursting through a wall. He also painted two students with a gold rope holding books and a globe, which can be seen in the school’s front lobby.
When students return to Ronald E. McNair Middle in Decatur, they will find Parker’s handiwork. He has been working on a mural in the front lobby of the school. The mural, which depicts an astronaut in space handing a book down to a person, portray the school’s slogan for the 2014-2015 school year: “We will, we can, because we must.”
Parker is set to begin working on a painting soon for the Ronald E. McNair Discovery STEM Academy in Decatur, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Parker got his start with art at his Kentucky high school when he drew his first mural, which featured the school mascot, the Colonel. Ever since, he has been inseparable with his brush, painting portraits of professional athletes, high school and college graduates and more. He also designs T-shirts and art plaques, and is owner of the Brush and Pen Gallery located in Stone Mountain.
After the 1996 Olympic Games, which were held in Atlanta, he painted a portrait of former professional boxer Muhammad Ali. He received the opportunity to not only meet Ali, but to also have him sign the portrait. This is a moment that he says he treasures dearly.
He credits his childhood community with helping him to move forward with what he believes to be his God-given talent.
“I’m naturally gifted as an artist, and the community that I grew up in commissioned me to do artwork for different churches, schools and [other places within] the community,” he said.
When he’s not partaking in his passion, he’s participating in another love that he has: working with youths. He volunteers at school cafeterias within DeKalb, mostly at Stephenson High, and also designs and prints shirts for the students.
Brush and Pen Gallery’s Sharon Nelson, customer service and sales representative, truly believes in Parker and his skills and says that he’s a good friend and artist.
“In general, Mr. Parker is a wonderful person, father, husband, volunteer and artist,” she said. “His art is amazing, very neat and magnificent.”
For more information and samples of Parker’s artwork, visit phillipparkergallery.com.