November 16, 2013 in Washington Voices

Creative way to cope

Krystn Parmley feels driven to make art
Jennifer Larue
Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

Artist Krystn Parmley is studying art at Eastern Washington University and will work on getting her master’s degree after graduation. She creates art in the bathroom of her Otis Orchards home.
(Full-size photo)

On the Web

You can find Krystn Parmley on Facebook.

Art quote of the week

“It feels like with each piece that I finish, I’m one step closer to finding me.”

Krystn Parmley, artist

Krystn Parmley is following her bliss.

“If I didn’t make art I think I could be a very dysfunctional person. I create because I have to. This is my escape, my way of dealing with things,” she said. “I had thought about doing graphic design but I realized that I need to physically touch the mediums, get my hands dirty, feel the energy from my body, my hands, my fingers, transferring to the canvas or piece of paper, bringing this idea or feeling alive in a sense.”

Parmley, 22, is taking a huge leap of faith. A single mother, she understands the importance of steady income. She considered getting into the field of medicine but she decided instead to follow her heart.

“My high school art teacher gave me one of the best pieces of advice. She said that if I was going to have a job where I spent that much time away from my baby, then it better be something that’s worth it.”

To Parmley, art is worth it.

Parmley grew up in Spokane Valley and attended East Valley High School where she took a couple of semesters of art. She went on to Spokane Falls Community College and is studying at Eastern Washington University. Eventually, she hopes to earn a master’s degree and teach art at a college.

“Not only would I get to teach other passionate people about what I love so much, but I would also be surrounded by constant creative energy and inspiration,” she said. “I would also still be able to be a working artist and my daughter would have everything that she needed, including time with me.”

Parmley lives in Otis Orchards with her 4-year-old daughter. She creates art in her bedroom or in her large bathroom where she sets up an easel and takes advantage of good lighting and a sink. She draws with pencil, ink or charcoal, sometimes paints in acrylic, and does printing and relief work. From organic abstracts resembling things like roots and webs or cracks, to stunning figurative pieces and still lifes, her work represents feelings, ideas, thoughts and memorable images she stumbles across.

For example, her piece “Waiting” was inspired by two quail that she saw on the side of the road.

“One was dead and the other was just standing over it,” she said. “The piece is sad and most people feel sad when they see it, but for me, it’s more personal; this idea of her waiting for him even though she knows he’s never coming back.”

The Verve is a weekly feature celebrating the arts. If you know an artist, dancer, actor, musician, photographer, band or singer, contact correspondent Jennifer LaRue by email at

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