top of page
Chromatic Introspections, by Parker

There are two spreads in this entry — click on the arrows to view both.  

Parker's Instagram: @xsunsteethx

A Conversation with the Artist

We interviewed Parker about her views and journey as an artist.


Would you like to introduce yourself?


Sure. So my name is Parker Goodwin; I'm 19 years old. I’m a painter, illustrator, sculptor, and also one of the people who helped create this zine. 


What inspired you to join the zine? Both as a contributing artist, and as a member of the head team? 


I was already part of the “art collective” discord for, I believe, five months, and I’ve always wanted to be part of a zine. So when I heard both you and Micah talking about this project I knew I wanted to join. I also think the message you guys came up with was really powerful and important for where humanity is at right now. I want to be able to look back and know I was a part of that.

I had already wanted to help put the zine together, but what really convinced me to do it was the fact that you (anoushka) reached out to me about it. I didn’t know if I was what you guys were looking for because my art is way darker. But I feel like working on my zine entry (Chromatic Introspections) really opened up a new era for my own artistic expression that I wasn’t expecting.


That’s awesome. Like a new Parker Renaissance.


Hahahah I don’t know if renaissance is the right word, but yes. Similar to how painters have different phases in their career — ie Picasso's blue period, then rose period, then cubism — I think this piece was the first of a new period for me. 


So honoured to hear that and to work with you.


Yeah, it’s been really fun. Also, we’re an international team, and I think that’s really powerful. I realize not a lot of artists have the kind of international connection we have on the server. 


Can you describe your process and approach for your zine entry, Chromatic Introspections? 


I wanted to make something different — something light, rather than gruesome. But, I still wanted to use the symbolism I’m known for, so people can still tell I made it. My first drafts looked far different from my final piece: I only had the main bottom figure (the one with stars in them), and I was going to have her floating in the ocean. But not only did that look too empty, but it actually looked like the figure was descending — the opposite of my intended message:  ascension, growth, overall healing. So I went back to the cutting board. 

My second revision was a struggle, I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do, so I went back and read my old diaries and sketchbooks. I found a note from when I was nine, where I wrote to my older self and dreamt of being happy. I’ve suffered from several major mental illnesses from a very young age, so finding that note from a nine-year-old me was really powerful. I wrote about how I knew when I felt happy because it would feel like the weightlessness of being in the water. I thought that was really cool, so I took that note out. Then, I found another poem I wrote to myself a year ago, at 17 years old — the last time I was admitted into a psych ward. It’s included with Chromatic Introspections, and it reads: 

When you finally taste the weightless kind of free this is when you will be home with me.

 And I home with you, swimming in our chromatic seas.

 Stripping all your armour, let your walls fall and the water flow. The chroma will soon penetrate your ego, and apricate your soul. 

So I had these two pieces I wrote to myself with a ten-year time difference. Both of them had to do with growth, and they both were written to an older self or higher self (I’m a very spiritual person). So I was like, alright, that’s what I’m doing. That’s when I decided to add the iridescent or white figure who’s floating on top of the galaxy figure. She's tending to this garden growing out of the galaxy figure’s chest as a reference to those letters I wrote to myself. 


I love how this piece has been in the making for 10 years now — because the original inspiration was from when you were nine. And all the different aspects to your submission, not just the poem that accompanies your work but also the different images of yourself throughout the years, it’s stunning. 


Yeah. The second photo that’s yellow — that was me at nine years old. It was around that time when the deep sadness really kicked in for me, and it was around that time when I wrote the first letter to myself. Another inspiration to this piece, probably my first memory, was when I was three. I was sitting in a pool at my childhood home and swishing my little baby hands through the water. That memory is integral. It’s what inspired the pool setting in my piece — because that pool was my saving grace from a lot of things in my life before I had to move out of my childhood home. 


Whenever I look at an artwork, or even when I’m creating my own artwork, I always associate a specific song with it. I was wondering if you associate any sort of song, or even noise, with your piece? 


 Yeah. I actually have synesthesia, which is when your five senses are cross-wired when you’re born. So when I’m talking to Anoushka or anyone in my life, I can hear colour — I hear the colour of people’s voices and the sounds of things. I think that’s a big indicator for why I’m an artist: I have to see colour 24/7, so I might as well make stuff out of it. So yes, most of my pieces usually have ambient noise or a song I’ve attached to them. The song for this piece is called Home with You by FKA Twigs. 

Twigs is a huge inspiration in my life. I was 17, going through my first real breakup, when I found her and her new album, Magdalene. It changed my life completely. She’s also a mixed African-American like me, so to see her thrive on an international level really solidified my identity as a person. There’s this lyric from Home for You that goes, “I’ve never seen a hero like me in a sci-fi,” and it really spoke to me.  I’ve always been authentically me because that’s all I knew to do during all of my struggles. But after a while, it gets kind of sad not seeing anyone that looks and acts like you, especially when going through sudden insane and intense things. So, her song, that lyric, really reigns true. I really haven’t seen a hero like me in a sci-fi before. It’s just such a beautiful and powerful song. I want to create, I believe I’m on my way to creating, art that is as powerful as that.


What you were saying with the FKA Twigs song is so beautiful, and I agree with you 100% on the representation thing. In any field, it’s really powerful to see representation. For a long time, I thought it was kind of overrated, but didn’t realize its importance until finally seeing a character like me in a TV show. And it’s also really beautiful how you aspire to create artwork as powerful as FKA Twigs’, or how you want it to inspire people because I honestly think it does. Your artwork is so personal — it takes away a lot of the stigma about mental health. I know your artwork already inspires me but inspiring people on a grander scale, I think you’re on your journey towards that.


That’s really nice to hear — you’re honestly making me tear up. This piece is also significant because I’ve been battling mental health issues my whole teenagehood or adolescence. Everyone in my life has told me not to worry because there’s a “light at the end of the tunnel,” but when it comes from people who weren’t experiencing dark times, it’s the last thing you want to freaking hear. But looking at this piece, I think wow, this might be the start of the light at the end of the tunnel. 


Are there any artists, concepts, or colour palettes that inspire your artwork? (In general, rather than this specific piece?) 



I think as artists, we’re constantly being inspired by things whether it’s conscious or subconsciously. But consciously — I love James Jean. He’s an Asian American painter and illustrator. He’s one of my biggest inspirations for taking art seriously. Then, I have David Cho who’s another Asian American illustrator — he’s inspired me to take risks. Lissoni is another artist on Tumblr and Instagram, and she inspires me a lot with her darker themes and batshit colouring (in a good way). She’s also Mexican-American too — because a lot of the artists I appreciate are people of colour. POC artists’ work affects me deeply because their work also involves POC issues. A Lot of musicians also inspire my art, like FKA Twigs, which ties into my synesthesia. My colour palette is the primaries. 


I also adore James Jean — how imaginative and whimsical his artwork is. It’s crazy, he’s such a phenomenal artist.


Is Visual Art your only creative medium? 


So, I’m a visual artist in multiple regards — painting, illustration, sculpting, and recently 3D modelling as part of my job. I also love filmmaking — I want to make a film very badly — and I’m a musician. I don’t talk about that much because music is so deep for me — I think it’s what’s closest to my soul — but I can sing. I write music, I play the guitar, piano, ukulele. And then in terms of filmmaking, I really aspire to make a feature-length film. I want it to be kind of a mix of live-action and art — more of an art film. I want it to be raw. 


I had no idea you were a musician, or into filmmaking. 


Yeah. I think those are the two most powerful mediums of our time. All my art is personal, but there’s something about singing a story or making a film, that’s extremely close to me. And it’s nice to have certain things close to me that no one else gets to touch or criticise. 


What are your earliest memories involving your own creative expression? What effect, if any, has your childhood had on the creativity you display?


I can’t remember a time where I have not been creative, but I really fell in love with art at nine years old, when my home environment started going downhill. The first thing I remember making is a little flipbook animation of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and I loved it — it made me feel like I was doing something with my life. So, I wanted to be a Disney animator. Then there was this transition when I got my first laptop and discovered the internet. I was a huge Steven Universe fan, and I was starstruck with all the Steven Universe fan art I found on Tumblr — I didn’t even know digital drawing existed until then. That’s when I started practising every day.

 Then, I moved to a charter school, and I met my art teacher who really sparked a turning point in terms of my painting and illustration. At first, I didn’t like him — he was an old man trying to teach me how to paint, and I didn’t want to do that: I wanted to animate things. He wanted me to do a self-portrait, and I really didn’t think I could do it. But when I finally did the assignment, it was actually really good. I was like “Holy Shit; this is awesome. Why do I want to be an animator when I could paint?” That’s when I found James Jean, he amazed me, and I’ve been painting and illustrating since. Funnily enough, my painting and illustration led me to physical sculpture, and my physical sculpture ended up leading me all the way back to animation. Except this time, it’s 3D.


I love how full circle it is. 


You mentioned your art teacher, who gave you a tough-love push when you needed it. How have people in your personal life affected your creative journey? 


Positively speaking, my teacher was one of them. Then of course my mom, who has always supported me. A lot of my friends were also supportive. I don’t think my friends understand what I'm doing when it comes to my artistry, but they’re still supportive, and that’s okay. Not everyone is going to get it or see it. 

In terms of negative influences, the main factor is my father because he was not supportive at all. Firstly, he didn’t respect me because I’m a woman – he’s told me from a young age that he wanted boys, and women are weak. But on top of that, he didn’t want me to be an artist. He told me that what I was making “didn’t make sense to anyone,” and it “isn’t going to get me anywhere.” I’m a stubborn person, so I told him to go fuck himself — I really pushed back. There were times when I really wanted to give up and give in to his constant belittling of my art, which is my soul, essentially, but I never did. Even when he would take all my art supplies away, I would still find a pencil and draw because it didn’t matter: I was going to find a way. 

I guess another negative influence is people not understanding mental illness. I felt alone and untethered from reality — like I was on the outside of everything — like no one saw me. And while that was really hard, it’s what triggered my artistic expression: I thought, “if no one sees me in a human way, I’m going to create something that makes them see me. I’m going to make something so insane, and colourful, and crazy that they’re going to have to say something to me.”


So you use art to defy those who tore you down? 




That is so motherfucking badass. I don’t know if this sounds pretentious or not (I don’t think it does), but I remember some artist saying that art is like an act of defiance. What you talked about just reminded me of that.


I think it takes balls (or ovaries) to be an artist; I don’t think everyone’s cut out for it. I think humans are artistic by nature, but to be an artist is to dedicate your life to something that people can constantly tear apart. You have to be a special breed to have that mental capacity. 


Also because I think most artists, to some extent, deal with their own issues through their artwork. So when other people criticize your work, it can feel like they’re criticizing your thoughts or the way you interpret your struggles. I can see why you’d say not everyone’s cut out for that. 


Are there any specific topics, issues, or aspects of your life that inform your work?


Aside from mental health, or illnesses, my spirituality informs what I make as an artist. I'm a very spiritual person, and art is a very spiritual thing for me. It gives me purpose in the world. To truly know you’re meant for something, to feel it in your soul, I don’t feel that for anything besides art. 


I don’t know many people who are as sure of their purpose as you are — especially people who are so young.  I guess that’s weird for me to say because I’m younger than you, but for you to only be 19 and already have invested so much time into something you’re so sure of. It’s amazing.


Yeah. I mean, fun fact with my synesthesia, when I’m in a major depressive episode, my world goes Black and White. I literally can’t see colour when I’m in that state of mind. It’s really painful when it happens because I’m unable to produce art; I can’t tell what I’, making. And if I gave up art completely, it would destroy me. 


I feel like many artists are constantly second-guessing themselves, myself included, thinking that we’re not good enough. But I’m at a point where if I can make something that moves just one person, I’ve done my job. And I know I’ve already done that with several people, so that’s what helps me keep my peace.


I mean, I am one of those several people — I truly mean it. And with the synesthesia thing, how your world goes Black and White, that’s crazy. I’m still processing that. 


Yeah. That's actually something I would love to express in my short film — the feeling of losing colour. Because it’s terrifying. Thankfully I’m okay now, though  — I can see colour now.


I’m glad to hear that. 


Do you feel obligated to have symbolism or deeper meaning in every piece you make? Do you feel like it adds more or less value to your artwork? 


Yes — I feel obligated to put symbolism in my pieces. I still create art that doesn’t have symbolic meaning, but I don’t show that to people. I feel that there is part of society that is very fake — filtered, edited, all that stuff. But at the same time, there’s also part of society who watches these artistic music videos and write paragraphs of youtube comments analysing their symbolism. So, I feel torn between needing to use symbolism because our society is so fake, and then feeling pressured that everything must have meaning. It’s a hard place to be in, but I’d rather have meaning. It comes down to what I’m putting out for people to see on social media, and I want to make things that mean something to a wide array of people. I haven’t posted on my Instagram account since posting my zine piece, because I just don't have anything in my portfolio that feels worthy of being put into a social space. And also, I don’t want to feel like I’m making content. I’m not a content creator; I’m an artist. Feeling like I have to constantly produce something is when the fakeness comes in. 


It’s interesting because a lot of artists I’ve interviewed said the opposite. For them, pressuring themselves to only post art with “deeper meaning” was artificial. But when they allowed themselves to post stuff that wasn’t as profound, that’s when it felt authentic. But for you, what’s authentic is pressuring yourself to only post deep and profound — because that’s what you think makes social media more authentic.  




That’s really cool; I haven’t heard anyone else say that. I’ve seen most other artists (myself included), say that the pressure to instil meaning comes from our own perfectionism. The reasoning is centred on meeting our own standards. But with you, it’s not about your own perfectionism or your own standards. It’s about your goal of transforming public space.


How much of your creative ability do you think is innate, versus something you’ve developed over time?


As I said, I’ve been taking art seriously for the past 10 years. A lot of an artist’s job is just fucking dedication. But, I do believe I have some innate gifts: with my synesthesia, I see a world that’s completely different from anyone else. (And honestly, I don’t think any two people see the world the same way, because that’s not how humans work). So I think my ability is 10% innate, and 90% hard work. Practice doesn’t make perfect, because I don’t believe in a perfect, but practice is practice.


What role do emotions play in your creative process? (1:24:00)


They’re integral to the process. If I don't feel anything from what I’ve made, then it's not worth it. It’s funny because, for how dark my art is, I feel at peace when I'm creating it. It’s cathartic for me. I believe that when you start with a blank canvas, you open a gateway to your emotions; it’s just a question of whether you want to acknowledge those emotions — to have that conversation with yourself. There is nothing more terrifying than a blank canvas. But as long as there’s one mark, it’s enough. I don’t think a lot of people realize that.


You think it’s terrifying to see a blank canvas because it’s a gateway to your emotions?


No. I think it’s terrifying because it means that the conversation hasn’t been had yet.


The conversation with yourself? 

Yeah. I don’t look at blank canvases and feel scared to feel things. It’s the opposite: I can’t wait to feel things. It’s fear and excitement at the same time — the fear of walking into the unknown. I won’t know the conversation I open up with a new canvas, but I’m ready for it: it’ll be there when I leave, and it’ll be there when I die. I know it’s kind of morbid, but I want to leave something here for when I’m gone. And I really believe that art transcends time. 


Are there any upcoming projects, websites, or social media you’d like to talk about?




 Yeah. My website is still in the works, but my name is Parker Goodwin, and my Instagram is @xsunsteethx so you can find me there. For any inquiries — if you find me from this interview or the zine — you can email me at



One last thing — What’s something that’s made you smile this past week? 


My birthday was last week, and that made me smile. Usually, I dread having my birthdays, but this year was really good. I think it’s because I’m way more stable. I was able to be present in the moment, happy — a sign of the growth and change I’ve gone through this year. 

bottom of page