The National Endowments for the Arts awarded me a grant for the “Art in Prisons” program at the Federal Prison in Honolulu. As “artist in residence” my responsibilities were two-fold: 1. teach inmates the traditional techniques of drawing and 2. create a body of work in response to that experience. This endeavor began one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my career.
These drawings are in response to this experience. They consist of two basic approaches. Realistic representations of the physical interior of the prison and process oriented drawings expressing the passing of time in prison.
The realistic series was dictated by several factors:
- My first impression when I went into the prison;
My severely restricted presence for security reasons;
My need to establish a reputation as a skilled artist with the inmate population.
How to create ultra-realistic drawings where cameras are not allowed;
The idea of time: an inmate’s observation day after day; the time it takes to observe and duplicate a location or space;
180 Steps Series: An inmate asked if I knew how many steps it took to get “from that doorway to that doorway.” He did. 180 Steps.