This Presidents Day I decided to share my accidental prison collection and the stories behind them.
A few years ago, while on vacation in Maine, I drove past a state prison with an adjacent store that sold furniture and knick-knacks made by prisoners. This is where I bought this little turtle stool.
When I started working on Among Murderers, my friend Matthew Fishbane made this little smuggling container for me. It’s made from an old, romantic novel in which the lover’s main character is being executed.
When I visited Attica Prison, Judy Halley, one of my sources, gave me this mug. She had received it a few years before as a Christmas present from the prison in honor of her volunteer work .
After visiting Attica, I became pen pals with the prisoner Richard Robles. Richard was an invaluable source for anything concerning life behind bars. A passionate painter, Richard send me a watercolor of a friend’s daughter playing the cello. He talked a lot about how difficult it was to capture the child’s expression. He loaned me the drawing to scan (and share).
This is the most recent piece in my collection, a print by Winfred Rembert, one of my favorite outsider artists. Rembert spent seven years in prison and worked in the chain gang.