Parris Stancell spent his childhood drawing; always fascinated with the human figure and inspired by his exposure to European museums and the theater as the son of a U.S. serviceman. These colorful experiences sparked his creative interest and began Parris' life long drive to study the arts and art history.
Stancell's creative spirit lie dormant during his stint in the 82ND Airborne where the "macho" soldier ruled out over the insightful artist everytime.
Difficult years followed during which Parris struggled with drug addiction, life in the South Bronx and holding down a job at United Press International for three years in the Communications Department. Often feeling melancholy, he found himself sketching his girlfriend as she did household chores. The human figure had again captured his interest and after five years of hibernation his creative drive had awaken in Parris the desires to live his life...an artist's life.
Stancell returned to Philadelphia in 1979, where he attained his GED and enrolled in drawing classes at The Fleisher Art Memorial, a practice he continues to this day. He's found it intriguing to act as a documenter, witnessing the physical changes in models he's drawn through his years of study.
It was at Fleisher Art Memorial that Parris developed his talent and his portfolio which he used to gain acceptance at the Philadelphia College of Art. From 1979-1981 Parris mainly studied drawing in various mediums with only six hours a week spent on painting techniques.
Parris Stancell says he was challenged by the opportunity to work in Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program in 1991 and since then he's completed a dozen murals; each taking a couple of months from the planning stage through to completion.
Parris has been clean for a decade and he has reflected on his life experiences to create meaningful paintings and murals, like his favorite mural at 52nd and Master Streets (in Philadelphia) titled The Three Graces: Community, Spirituality and Tragedy. His paintings have been exhibited at The African American Museum, the Nexus Gallery, the Giant Steps Gallery and The Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum to name a few.