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Department of Studio Art
logoHerb Parker/Studio Art
"Sculpture Is My Passion, Art Is My Life"
By Kevin Boniface

Herbert "Herb" Parker, born on July 31, 1953 in Elizabeth City, N.C., graduated from Eastern Carolina University in 1983 with a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA). Parker met his wife, Evett Dede, at Tulane University in New Orleans where they both taught the arts. They moved to Charleston in 1991 to pursue teaching positions here at the college. They have two children, 10-year-old son Seven and 13- year-old daughter Benna.

Parker has been around the globe and has served his country in two different ways. He was in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years and then he joined the Peace Corps for two years.

Since the 1980s, in his distinguished career as a sculptor, Parker has created nearly 50 site-related installations. He creates many spiral designs that are very intricate and challenging. He says some of his designs come from research that he has done on a particular culture that has inspired him.

One of his favorite works is one he created in 2001 in Takihata Falls, Osaka, Japan. Parker and a small class of Japanese girls set out on a journey to recreate the earliest structure natives made to live in outside of living in caves.

Their journey began early in the morning walking through mountains and valley trails still damp with the dew from the night before. They had to walk through streams while carrying all the bamboo and other materials that would make the structure.

Parker said the actual site of the installation was a place he will never forget. He said the site was right in front of a waterfall nestled back far in the woods in a small clearing.

Along with the beautiful scenery Parker also got to lodge in a 1,000 year old temple while he was working on this project.

Parker has installations and structures all over the United States and parts of Canada. One of his latest structures is a labyrinth he created out of sod, steel and wood pallets around the pineapple fountain downtown here in Charleston.

"Some days I work for up to 14 hours but the end results are very rewarding," Parker said.

Parker's courses at the College include "Introduction to Sculpture" which he says is one of his favorite classes because of the diversity of the students enrolled. "Different perspectives enrich the classroom experience," he said.

He also teaches two upper-level sculpting classes and an independent studies class. "One of my favorite attributes about the college is the collective respect students and teachers have for good work ethic," Parker said.

Parker says he tries to keep a good balance between his work life and his life at home. He said when he first started teaching at the college he found himself working excessively, now he says he tries harder to allocate his time to his family and career as a free-lance artist.

Parker has received various grants and fellowships in Louisiana and South Carolina, and a Southern Arts Federation fellowship in sculpture and visual arts awards from the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.

Parker says he is always looking for new opportunities to work with landscapes and looks forward to staying with the college for years to come.

For more on Professor Herb Parker and to see some of his creations, visit his website at