The remains of Andy Parkin's studio at the Moulin des Artistes after the fire of 9 December 2016

Parkin studio destroyed by fire

That’s Parkin – with an “a”, not an “e”, and no “s” on the end. 

On the night of 9 December 2016, the studio of my good friend Andy Parkin was destroyed by fire. The building in Les Praz, the Moulin des Artistes, was completely gutted. Andy lost most of his work and tools, as did his neighbour Peter Steltzner, creator of Rabbit on the Roof hand made skis.

I’ve known Andy for many years, initially through British rock climbing. Since moving to Chamonix, I’ve often been mistaken for him. We have received each other’s mail, I’ve collected slides of his in the past by mistake from developing labs, and even had a phone call one evening from a French woman asking me to paint a picture for her living room. Suffice to say that I declined and gave her Parkin’s phone number.

Award sculptures
Kendal Mountain Festival trophies by Andy Parkin

In recent years, I’ve met Andy regularly at Kendal Mountain Festival where he has made the trophies. These fantastic works of art are unique, made completely from recycled materials, and each year they are a joy to behold. As a winning filmmaker at Kendal, they must be a joy to own and a reminder of what great talent can produce. The only way I’d ever get my hands on one of Andy’s great pieces is to buy one. I bought one for a good friend as a present some years ago, and on the rare occasions I get to see it, it still elicits a strong visceral reaction which is, after all, what great art does.

Andy is way more talented, determined and famous in the Chamonix valley than I will ever be. He’s well respected among the local community for his energy, skill, creativity and his support for local initiatives, many of which have taken place at the Moulin des Artistes.

So it’s totally appropriate that the community now supports him in the next big challenge – rebuilding his life. There is a crowdfunding initiative for Andy and Rabbit on the Roof which has already raised a five figure sum of euros. If you like great art, or you want to put something back into the mountain community, please contribute.

Thanks.