Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Pen and the Brush

While we are on the subject of art here is an original painting he bought at the Big House. By Big House I mean the grounds is covered by a 20 feet high wall with barbed wire at the top. The Federal Pen.

It was purchased in our BK era. We heard that the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, just up the street from Grant Park had a art festival every fall. The art canvases for sale were done by inmates. The art show and sale was not within the walls but just down the street, still on the Pen’s property I think.

How does the above painting strike you? To me it looks like someone trying to get away rather quickly and he is running down a dark alley or corridor.

The art was for sale at a darn right reasonable price and I think the proceeds went to help out with the inmates somehow or another.

We went two years in a row and ended up with at least three paintings. One above, which my son now has, a ship in earlier times when they used sails in rough seas, and the other one I am not sure what it is… it looks like some kind of dream a Persian cat might have had. I looked for those also, I have no idea what happened to them.

The inmates created some fantastic art paintings. Some were highly unusual. My theory is that the inmates are not your common everyday yuppie you see in the latest style and joking about their golf games. Individually the average person marches to his own drummer. He might even have a disturbed mind…. All the better to put out startling art, dearie.

Lets face it, any art created in the Big House was probably done by a rule breaker. I don’t know but I would guess that there are rules in art to followed, the same as rules in writing, grammar, and so on. These guys will probably dare to break the rules and produce some strange unnerving art.

I think I just rather stay on this side of the wall and color by numbers.

That reminds me, when I first got out of the Navy my first job was with The Atlanta News Agency. I was a route salesman. I traveled over a certain area in southeast Atlanta and visited various convenience stores and drug stores and see what magazines and books were selling and what wasn’t selling. I would pick up the ones not selling and give them credit, and if the next store down the street was out sold out of what I just picked up I would leave it with them…. There were more to it than that…. But that is essentially what I did.

At times the Atlanta News Agency would give each of a huge number of publications that were not selling good. They would say get rid of them. And don’t pick them up for credit until after inventory was taken.

Once I was given something like 1500 coloring books to get rid of. They were very child like coloring books that most children would have felt superior to. So, how was I going to get rid of 1500 useless coloring books.

The Atlanta Federal Penitentiary was on my route. I wrote up one ticket, carried to the dock, had the guy that was in charge of the loading dock to sign for it and he turned around and had some prisoners unload it, and I was on my way, laughing all the way out the gate.

And guess what? The coloring books were never returned for credit.

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Blogger cbish68 said...

I think your impression of the paintings meaning is probably correct, but when I look at it I see a view from the bottom of a well or a shaft, and guy being tossed backwards into it. But hey, I'm a "glass is half empty" kind of person.

4:22 AM  
Blogger Eddie said...

You may have something there. Either interpretation seems to be work-related.

5:30 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

I think he is running away from confinement. That does look like a dark alley or corridor, Eddie.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Eddie said...

I wish I could remember what we did with the old frigate ship in troubled waters - the waves were high and dangerous looking. And I am sure a ship powered by sails is a symbol of freedom - yet headed in a troubled area.... oh well, you get the jest.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone probably got shanked for one of those coloring books. Or perhaps one man traded another man for a coloring book. You may have saved a prison economy with your donation.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Eddie said...

I like that!.... "I'll give you my bitch and two packs of smokes for your coloring book, providing you haven't colored in it yet".

7:21 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

When people come over and ask me about the painting I always ask for their opinion. Do you think he's running into the light, or away from the light? On occasions I've told people who were parking on my couch for the night that the painting is haunted with the enraged soul of the inmate who painted it. Then I tell them a story or two about how things have mysteriously moved in the house on their own and how my dog Daisy ferociously barks at the painting, and not the moving object, whenever this happens. Then, when I go to bed, I wait until all is settled into the quite dark of night and I whisper the command "speak" to Daisy, which gets her so excited that she barks like she hears something, which on a few occasions sends the house guest into a screaming fit. A few have even had their mind play a trick on them to think that something in the room moved just before the barking began. It just goes to show you how the concept of this painting alone is just as great as the work itself.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Eddie said...

You are wearing my genes!

2:08 AM  

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