• Triston Brewer

Dellamarie Parrilli: Impresario Of Expressionism


If the World Were Square, 6x8x6, mixes media in polycarbon on acrylic © Dellamarie Parrilli


“When I look at art I want to be moved, emotionally and spiritually. I want to be transported, where I can take a deep dive within to explore and question the layers of life.”


- Dellamarie Parrilli


Dellamarie Parrilli is a Los Angeles based mutli-disciplinary artist who has spent the past three decades honing her craft as a painter. She focuses much of her time on acrylics, watercolor, oil, and an experimental series she calls Beyond 2D. Dellamarie is a free-spirited artist who believes in living in the moment rather than abiding by rigorous plans and rules. Her work is not only beautiful, but capable of eliciting strong feelings from those who have the pleasure of viewing it. From her early beginnings as a singer to her current work as a painter, Parrilli has now successfully made the transition from one artistic career to the next, and her dedication continues to show through her works. In this exclusive interview, she covers her diverse path, how singularity bred inspiration, the current direction of her artistry, and where the art world is headed in the future.


Lost Until You Found Me, 48x60, acrylic on canvas © Dellamarie Parrilli


How did your career as an artist begin?


“My life has been marked by tragedy and adversity. I was born in Chicago three months premature and was not expected to live. During my youth, my father was killed by a drunk driver and three months later my mother, twin brother and I surviving a devastating house fire were left homeless. I was 11 years old at the time. I embraced my creativity and completely immersed myself in music, writing, drawing.


I attended DePaul University where I earned a BA in Music; I studied voice, dance—tap, jazz and ballet—and improv at Second City. I funded my college education by doing theater performances, voice overs, and singing in clubs. I set my sights on Broadway and was just about to open in Judy Garland Songs and Stories, when fate stepped in…I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and Sjogren’s Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease. The doctors told me I would never sing again. That is when I turned my ‘voice’ to my artwork. I’ve been painting ever since.”


Conversation With Myself, 72x60, watercolor on canvas © Dellamarie Parrilli


What is your artistic process?


“I am a self-taught artist. my work wide ranging, ever changing, and restlessly experimental. My process is simple, I approach a canvas with no rules - which allows me total and complete freedom. I am an action painter, so I bring that spontaneity and unbridled passion to my canvas I express from sources within, interested in exploring “interiors”…emotional, spiritual, and psychological.


Over the years I have used and experimented with many techniques, always searching for greater freedom of expression. My paintings are abstract expressionistic, chromatic fireworks, creating a synthesis of feelings and ideas that establish a reality that is accessible to all. I explore that which comes from and projects itself toward infinity. My art explores Zen states of formlessness, the energetic layers of life and dissolves the narrow definitions of self.”


Has your (creative) process changed over time?


“Yes, of course. I believe the creative process viewed as a humanistic force in ongoing growth and development - in actualizing one's potentialities, is ever present. Artistically, my creative process in studio has evolved over two decades. I embrace intense color - color so powerful that it plays a structural role within my compositions, which convey physical experience conjoined with raw emotion - which I believe absorbs and updates the entire coloristic and tactile vocabulary of Abstract Expressionism for the postmodern era.”


Traveling At The Speed Of Love, 72 x 60, acrylic on canvas © Dellamarie Parrilli


Who are your biggest influences in contemporary art?

I’ve been told that my work continues in the creative tradition of my artistic forbearers, Kandinsky, de Kooning, Pollock, Tobey, Mitchell and even early Rothko, but, of course, from my own unique perspective and introspective vision.

A woman who was instrumental to my art career was Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman. She was collecting American Abstract Expressionistic art in the late 1940s, works by such masters as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline to name a few. Her collection hangs today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ours was a chance meeting - fate, if you will. It was my first art exhibition, a solo in Chicago at the Fine Arts Building and the most intriguing woman kept coming up to me; we walked from painting to painting talking. At one point, she stopped, and said, ‘“I don’t collect art anymore, but if I did, I would buy all of your purple paintings.’”

At the time, I did not know who she was!!! I thought she was precious and sweet! We exchanged contact information and made plans for a studio visit. Can you imagine my surprise...my delight...the complete affirmation that I was on the right path when I discovered who she was!”


There are some artists that prefer a more structured way of ‘learning the process’, while others prefer a spur of the moment, jack of all trades approach. As a self-taught artist, what is your perspective?


“My approach is that of an action painter - spontaneous, in the moment, flowing - fearless, free and expressive. My bold and fearless use of color - “technicolor fireworks” if you will, help to achieve a visual intensity and a renewed experimental take on the established language of abstraction that is almost unsurpassed in contemporary painting. And while my techniques are rooted in art history, they are applied in an experimental spirit that results in an endlessly fresh take on the language of abstraction.”


Garden Path, 48 x 72, oil on canvas © Dellamarie Parrilli


Some of your works have vertical and horizontal dissecting lines, can you tell me a little bit more about this artistic choice?


“The vertical and horizontal dissecting lines separate areas of exploration giving depth and added dimension to the thematic and psychological thrust of my work.”


How embedded is your life and ‘herstory’ in your artwork?


“Events in my personal life have naturally influenced my work, accentuating my vision, points of view, human values, and poetic content. My prior extensive background in music and dance is reflected in my work, which is spontaneous, created in the moment. Without preliminary sketches, I build my paintings to create a physical, earthbound sensibility while motioning toward spiritual transcendence.”


Alpha, 72 x 25, mixed media on polycarbon © Dellamarie Parrilli


Do you believe having a ‘vision’ is necessary, allow your work to flow organically, or a mixture of the two?


“My work is intuitive and visceral, plunging the viewer into a highly personal world with near-universal resonance. My work presents the viewer with a highly energetic variant on Abstract Expressionism. To achieve an immediate visual intensity and a renewed, experimental take on the established language of lyrical abstraction.

Over the years I have used and experimented with many techniques, always searching for greater freedom of expression. My paintings are abstract expressionistic, chromatic fireworks, creating a synthesis of feelings and ideas that establish a reality that is accessible to all. I explore that which comes from and projects itself toward infinity. My art explores Zen states of formlessness, the energetic layers of life and dissolves the narrow definitions of self.”


2020 and 2021 have been the closest to a world without art as we may ever get in this digital age. What effect do you believe the global pandemic will have on artists and how their art is perceived?


“Art has and always will be. It is the hope of humanity. The pandemic has intensified the questions of life, the meaning of, survival, mortality, purpose - as well as the ever present questions of equality and justice for all. We as a people, and I as a creative, along with every other artist have been forced to adapt…and I believe, we have been allowed greater opportunity for growth and intense introspection.”


Anatomy Of A Dream, 32 x 53, mixed media cutout on polycarbon © Dellamarie Parrilli

What advice would you give aspiring artists?


“Get out of your head and into your heart…just let the creativity flow and enjoy the journey!”

What are you currently working on?


“I’m always creating. Recently, because of the pandemic, I started taking photographs from the windows of my loft at Hollywood and Vine. They will be published in a book, Among The Stars - life on the street, beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, to the societal contradictions where there are those living on the streets in the shadows next to a Lamborghinis. I am also creating some new exciting works on paper using markers, inks, and acrylics.”


In a solo virtual exhibition hosted by Cross Contemporary Partners, Parrilli’s expansion from performance to painting is represented in her work, which merges bold and luminous hues to reflect abstract visuals. Her palette bathes the viewer in deep blues and reds, then traverses the spectrum towards vibrant yellows and greens. Muted colors are absent here, and Parrilli has instead chosen to feature organic shapes that reveal a connection to nature and the ethereal.

Enter her virtual solo exhibition here: https://crosscontemporarypartners.com/exhibitions/18-dellamarie-parrilli-solo-exhibition-up-close-and-colorful/

Enter her virtual group exhibition here: https://crosscontemporarypartners.com/exhibitions/19-the-universe-makers-bassmi-ibrahim-dellamarie-parrilli-victoria-a-virtual-group-exhibition-curated-by-dominique-nahas/

You can find more of Dellamarie’s work at www.parrilli.com.