Thrings Meets... Idle Biro

Thrings meets artist Pahrnia Parsons, creator of the Idle Biro

Thrings Associate Megan Alexander meets artist Pahrnia Parsons, creator of the Idle Biro

How did Idle Biro start?

Drawing has been a healthy obsession of mine from the moment I could pick up a pencil.

During my early twenties, I developed a strong appetite for exploration and started travelling around the world, often giving my art away to individuals I stayed with as a token of appreciation. It was much later when I realised my creative tendencies could be turned into a profession.

While in Australia, a friend requested I draw their aunt whom I’d never met. Although I found it a bizarre request, I agreed when he offered to pay. Following the positive feedback, as well as the confirmation that my art held sentimental and monetary value, I entertained the idea that this could be an additional stream of income, but most importantly a way to keep myself creatively fulfilled.

Come lockdown, I decided to take the leap. Overworked and underpaid at work, I decided to channel all my energy into one thing: drawing. From the start of April 2021, I drew relentlessly for a fortnight with the purpose of selling. Well, I have not looked back!

What kind of art do you do?

I am a portrait artist whose pieces aim to illicit emotion or to educate and inspire. I create content that details the trajectory of the piece, from the initial brainstorm phase to the finishing touches of the pen stroke. I adopt hyperrealism with a biro with the objective of capturing the subject’s personality.

Why do you only use a biro?

The minimalist approach to equipment and colour has made me appreciate the importance of proportion and detail. Biros are unforgiving with mistakes, so my focus is intense, and I become consumed with each project. This level of work commitment puts me in a state of alert equilibrium where I feel most aligned with my goals and purpose.

Plus, my revered piece of equipment is a desktop staple all over the world. I usually have a handy box of Bic pens on me but if I am out, it won’t take long to find a biro nearby.

You’re quite an active person outside of your art, aren’t you?

I am always on the lookout for new physical challenges no matter the extremities. I’ve always found myself doing things that test my stamina and mental endurance. The only other time I’m pushed to this level, psychologically, is when I curate large exhibitions, or draw large scale hyperrealism under tight time deadlines.

Competing in the Brazilian Ju-Jitsu World Championships in Las Vegas last year was a defining moment, having only trained for four years. Previously, I had participated in Channel 4’s ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’ in the Middle East where our team endured similar conditions that the Special Forces undergo daily.

Five years ago, I fell head over heels in love with both skydiving and running. Whether I am jumping out of a plane or sprinting through the pastoral landscapes of Bath, both sports provide me the space to detach and transcend – a privilege for sure.

What’s next for the Idle Biro?

This May, I have my biggest exhibition to date, which will be held at the RUH as part of the hospital’s Art at the Heart series. This was done in collaboration with Longleat Safari Park; Whereby a photographer and I took a trip to the Park in Summer 2023 to capture photos of the amazing animals there which I have been busy recreating in Biro in the months since.

Curating this has been a passion project devised in October 2022 whereby a series of unfortunate events cut my global travels short and led me to revisit my hometown.

I couldn’t be happier with life’s course as this exhibition will be my proudest yet. Not only do I get to showcase my work where I was born and raised, but a third of each sale will be donated to the RUHX, contributing to patients the extra extraordinary care they each deserve.

On 2 May, I’ll be hosting a launch event at Rengen House, ahead of the exhibition, where people can come along, learn about the art, the journey and the cause. Keep an eye on social media for all the details!

To find out more about the Idle Biro, visit or follow on Instagram via @theidebiro.

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