Blocks Off the Block

Katya McCulloch & Eight Unnamed Artists 

Katya McCulloch & Eight Unnamed Artists
Blocks Off the Block
Linoleum block prints
16 x 17 cm
Arts-in-Corrections: San Quentin, California
2009
FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives

Blocks Off the Block
00:00 / 01:23

Read Me!

At first glance, Blocks Off the Block is a dark and eerie piece. The cover page is filled with black trees and a white background, creating a silhouette. The pages have subject matter that varies from skulls and figures on fire to a man playing a guitar. Despite the paralyzing despair of these pieces, there is a feeling of comradery as well. The artists are portraying individual scenes of pain but are bound together by shared emotions of entrapment and sorrow. One of the goals of the artists is to humanize those who are imprisoned while simultaneously creating an opportunity to publicize their art. Imprisoned persons, isolated from society, are often not treated as humans with a past. This book forces the public to notice these artists as the individuals that they are.

 

The bound book contains twenty-one hand-printed linocuts from the San Quentin State Prison. The eight artists exhibited in Blocks Off the Block reveal deep struggles of humanity and imprisonment. Often, imprisoned persons are viewed as having lived “bad” lives and not deserving human rights. However, through the bold graphics and intense subject matter, viewers are encouraged to reconsider this notion. The book evokes humanity and empathy, while simultaneously characterizing these artists by who they are, rather than what they did.