“Rethinking Lines” Artist Speaks to Mason Students

Ahmad/Fourth Estate

The artist behind the Fenwick Gallery exhibition, Mel Parada, gives a presentation


Communication is unavoidable in everyday life. From billboards to street signs, everything has a message. Mel Parada aims to change that.

For the past month, students and faculty alike have experienced the art gallery known as “Rethinking Lines” by Mel Parada in the main lobby of the Fenwick Library. Students who were curious as to the origin of the artwork and wanted to learn more about the artist had the opportunity to hear from him on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Parada held a presentation at Fenwick in which he discussed the inspiration behind his works of art as well as the research he conducted to create them.

The “Rethinking Lines” body of work is a culmination of Parada’s investigation and research into traditional printmaking methods, as well his fascination with linguistics. He wanted to explore the methods in which narrative is deconstructed and altered in artwork. He took inspiration from the deconstructuralism movement as well.

Parada notes that people “live in everyday communication channels,” and he was hoping to break that with his artwork by having people dissect and think about what it means.

Parada drew his inspiration from both works of art he saw in galleries and museums, as well as art he found on social media.  His experience studying abroad in Germany also greatly inspired his work because it is a location “where graphic design is well-established.” He was drawn to the prominence of deconstruction in many European works of art. He was lucky enough to “live” what he was learning at Mason.

He also talked about his process of creating the works of art. Though his work is considered fine art, Parada always begins on a computer by creating a font. He then proceeds to “deconstruct” that font and thus the result is “Rethinking Lines.” Parada wants his works of art to interrupt the daily communication channels and narratives that everyone is subjected to. So, many of his pieces, even those that aren’t exhibited at Fenwick, can be displayed through a variety of mediums, such as billboards. His goal for these pieces is to lack narrative and spark thought, “a space of inquiry.”

Students can also check out the books showcased in the gallery chosen by Parada as well as Fenwick faculty concerning the topics and methods Parada synthesized in his works. Books such as “The Story of De Stijl” by Mondrian to Van Doesburg, which is about a Dutch art movement that Parada took inspiration from, are highlighted.

Parada holds an MFA from the Mason School of Art and is currently a resident artist for the Discover Graphics Atelier in Alexandria.

The exhibit will run through Oct. 5 in the Fenwick Library.