As a young child growing up in Italy, artist Nicola Parente loved train travel. “There was this cadence and sense of movement, and I eventually used those ideas in my work,” says Parente, whose large abstracts are often distinguished by blurred lines reminiscent of rustic hillsides and cityscapes rushing by. While his old-world roots play an important role in his artistic sensibility, it was moving to Pennsylvania with his parents and eventually to Houston on his own that shaped Parente’s reductive abstract imprint. “The newness of everything here gave me a fresh perspective,” says the self-taught painter, whose pieces can be found at Gremillion & Co. Fine Art. While Parente spent his early years immersed in the study of color, his work today is based on themes: Houston’s transitioning urban landscape, environmental concerns relating to the survival of bees, and his most recent water-inspired series, Pelagico. “It’s about telling my story,” Parente says. “I want people who view my work to travel through a piece and have their own personal connection to it.”
LX: I became interested in art when:
NP: My mother was a dress designer in Italy. I recall sitting at her worktable—pencil and paper in hand—mimicking her every move.
LX: Favorite design shops:
NP: I like Area, Sloan/Hall and Kuhl-Linscomb. As an artist, I love going into stores that keep my eyes open and interest elevated. The breadth and variety of merchandise available in these stores always has me coming back to see more.
LX: Describe your home.
NP: My loft is a modern eclectic space. I love midcentury designs mixed in with modern accents. The living room features two Le Corbusier chairs that I had reupholstered in red leather. They’re fabulous!
LX: Choice hotel:
NP: Hotel Ristorante Grotta Palazzese in Polignano a Mare. It’s in the Puglia region of Italy where I was born and is embedded in limestone caverns with cliffs overlooking the beautiful Adriatic Sea.
LX: Proudest moment:
NP: When I had my international solo exhibit at the Manuel Felgue´rez Museum of Abstract Art in Zacatecas, Mexico.