Chris in 2016:
I am an artist incarcerated in a maximum federal prison. My sentence does not end until the next decade.
My wildlife art is my story of redemption. My desire is to demonstrate respect, compassion and love can thrive in the darkest of places.
Each painting captures the animal in its authentic habitat.
I am self-taught. I have never taken a lesson. I use wildlife photography from magazines and books for my source.
I do my paintings on the floor of my cell. I am not allowed an easel, high quality paper or any medium but chalk pastels.
I use my thumb to blend and soften the background. Each painting takes many hours of layering colors to highlight depth and light.
Chris in January 2020:
I am an artist. There is a power in that statement. I spent 20 years in solitary confinement. 16 of it in the federal supermax called the adx.
If it takes 10,000 hours to master something then I am a master pastelist. I accumulated those hours and more wedged between a concrete stool and a steel toilet under two light bulbs of merciless fluorescence. I spent years there becoming good at something good. Becoming more than I was in a place built to make me less.
I left the adx in 2018. I have 4 years left on my sentence. I am an artist. I am experimenting with oils. Learning to use a medium I never had access to before. I hope my experience will translate into success in the future and that I can use what I’ve been through in activism.