2 thoughts on “Elvis Martin

  1. Dear Elvis,

    Hello! I’m Khirad Siddiqui, and I’m writing this letter as a member of the Justice Arts Coalition. Some time ago, a few of us got together and looked at the beautiful piece you had composed. We looked at what looked like a simple cell, but there was so much it told us about the person occupying it. It’s clear looking at the picture as an external viewer that this is the most familiar scene. Somewhere where you would look for hours, eventually distract yourself by counting the ceiling bolts, or the dots on the floor tiles. I felt like I was in school again, and that kind of creativity that monotony inspired in me came back. The neatness by which you had organized everything, the single open book (a religious text? A dictionary?), the texture of the blanket, the towel, all of it felt like the most intimate and personal image. It was clean, but not manufactured. It felt authentic, and as my eyes strained to see the nature outside, through layers and layers of the image, I could imagine what I might think in doing this kind of exercise. It was beautiful.

    In community,


  2. After discussing your cell picture with friends at JAC, I wanted to share some thoughts.

    This was no fantasy of flowers and waterfalls; this puts you right there, riveted to reality. One of the things that moved me a great deal was the tension between that dead-on claustrophobia of the scene and the symbols of a comfortable home — the maroon bedspread set off by the maroon towel, both contrasting nicely with the aqua walls, the green towel softening the steel of the cabinet, the neat stack of weighty tomes upon it, the orange, leopard-spotted floor, open windows to a rec area. It describes in well-executed detail a human presence in an inhuman setting. As such, it invited me in — then trapped me in a fixed position, allowing no space to budge to the right or left.

    My friend Sascha pointed out that the perspective takes a child’s picture of a house and raises it to a very sophisticated level. You know how kids draw homes — straight on with the door in the middle and the windows on either side? In the free world, you never see a house like this, because you’re moving, driving, walking, whatever, so the perspective is always changing. Only here in this cell is that not true, and all the more painful to experience —. Not only is it an ironic statement about the comforts of home and memories of home, but that locked perspective is a painful reminder of drawings from a long-ago childhood.

    I noticed saran wrap on the shelf in the upper right corner and assumed it was for wrapping and protecting your artwork. Is it meant to stay on, or is the artwork meant to be unwrapped? The image we found on our JAC site looked still wrapped, with semi-transparent diagonals moving across like energy vectors. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not. Then again, what moved me was the tension between the human and the inhuman. Hard to forget!

    Thank you, Louis

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