Cellblock Visions - prison art in america
prison art in america - Phyllis Kornfield

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Because of who they are, how they live, and their histories of poverty, abuse, and violence, many inmate artists demonstrate extraordinary vision. They paint without ambition because they are going nowhere, without ego because it has been battered to shreds. No matter how restrictive, oppressive, and humiliating their lives are, they prove, through their art, that they are capable of acting out of their highest impulses. Transformation is a real possibility. No one knows that better than former Warden Jack Cowley. He was overheard talking to a fellow warden about an incorrigible troublemaker, an inmate who was sullen, uncommunicative, and quick to explode. “Bobby”, Cowley raised his voice, “Put a paintbrush in the man’s hand!”

Cellblock Visions - alternative art
Braulio Diez “Condominium” acrylics

“Art became my counseling. All I had to do is look inside my mind and be creative. I can open my eyes and see beauty and colors. Like I always used to think my skin was just dark brown but I can see now I am a variety of color.” ~ inmate Charles Mosby

Cellblock Visions - alternative art
Charles Mosby “Romance” mixed media

“It may be that artistic creation, with all that it calls for in the way of free inventiveness, takes place at a higher pitch of tension in the nameless crowd of ordinary people than in the circles that think they have a monopoly on it.” ~Jean Dubuffet

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Cell Block Visions: Prison Art in America
Email: phylkorn10@gmail.com