A Glimpse Inside: Art Produced in Iowa Prisons
The artworks included in "A Glimpse Inside" were produced inside the Iowa Prison system, at various locations. Artists make use of mostly improvised materials to produce art that may be purely for self-expression, or possibly for personal income, such as greeting cards and commissioned portraits. All income earned in prison, whether privately or from official wages, is meager. Art is sometimes produced for cash and at other times for "prison money."
The collector, Doren L. Walker, was encouraged by retired attorney Vicki Rush to share his own art and art he has collected from incarcerated persons over the last fifteen years. His hope is that each artist will be seen as a person, making it easier for them to rejoin Iowa communities and find good jobs and suitable housing. Mr. Walker has been aided by support from Inside Out Reentry Community and Kathrina Litchfield, of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights. Jordan Sellergren, Art Director at Little Village, set up the exhibition at the magazine's headquarters in Iowa City. This has been a truly communal effort!
Inside Out Reentry Community website
Small Grandfather Clock, Popsicle sticks, tongue depressors, wood glue, baby oil Modge Podge, 10" x 7" x 3", 2017
In his own words:
I am a farmer and gardener by trade but I love to build arts and crafts, working with wood and making whatever I can. I started to build clocks because of the time they represent—time represents our life. I build my clocks with popsicle sticks and tongue depressors, which is quite a challenge! I use small clippers, sandpaper, and wood glue, and finish them with baby oil Modge Podge and clear coat. I can make Tambour clocks and small grandfather clocks, and each takes one or two months to complete.
Dallas Miller explains that he was inspired to start making clocks after reading these lines from Robert H. Smith:
The clock of life is wound but once
and no man has the power
to tell just when the hands will stop
at late or early hour . . .