This is a quick illustration* I did for the third installation of a three part article by Ari Braverman on the volunteer run poetry program at Orleans Parish Prison. It was a weird and difficult thing to conceptualize, as the article itself is low on compelling imagery that begs to be made material. Most is abstract, like the poetry read by the inmates; fodder for interesting illustration but unfitting for straightforward tone of the article. What little there remains to latch onto seemed (to me) made vague for clear reasons. Obviously inside the OPP cameras are not allowed. With only Braverman’s documentation for reference any imaginative liberties I could have taken, say for example attributing ages, ethnicities, or facial characteristics to any scene containing the characters mentioned within, would most likely have come off as wildly inappropriate. So there. I have an excuse for what I think are kinda sucky, boring drawings that say little (sorry).
That being said however, the article in full is neither boring nor sucky. It calls attention to what is a truly interesting and exciting program whose volunteers go unpaid and are largely unthanked. Now that I think about it, on all fronts from conception to the press and publication regarding it, this project is a labor of love. Doesn’t that kind of suck shit? I mean, I’ve met most of the folks involved here. Nobody’s rich. In fact, I think most of the people putting their time in here would be hard pressed to even call themselves middle class. I suppose it’s no surprise I guess. From the GOP to the shittiest, stutteriest social worker, humans tend to be taking care of their own class (re: celebrity adoption- philanthropy or career move?). I guess I should be happy to garnish something. I just feel bad for not trying a bit harder when so many other people are putting so much more into this type of shit.
Part 1: The Instigator
Part 2: “When I Left, My Mind Was Buzzing”
Part 3: In the Classroom
*Illustration caption by an inmate identified only as ‘D.’
that guy on the left needs more practice at wearing pants
right third rib fracture
right scaphoid fracture
right proximal radial head fracture
left flexor tendon separation
mri next week
portrait of a special olympian
drawn with the pen between unusual fingers
funny how little of a difference it really makes
posts will be scant
unless i remember to drop off my film when i go pick up my prescriptions
I probably will
at this point it’s just funny
jake the snake’s awesome summer
found inside the abandoned school in holy cross
can you read that graffiti?
"Spend the years of learning squandering
Courage for the years of wandering
Through a world politely turning
From the loutishness of learning."
we shared for a while and a bit and soon it was dark and soon it was light again about six a.m. i was hollering like a maniac on account of that part behind my skull aching so bad with these watercolors of religious deities in my bed and paint on the pillow that i must have put there but don’t remember just like how i don’t remember crying for help from the moon out the window or spitting on the carpet or making all those rude phone calls either