Posted by: Cory | August 21, 2007

Marvin Francis @ 21c/Proof

Marvin Francis

Marvin Francis, winner of last year’s International Assemblage Art Competition, and inmate in the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville is on exhibition at 21c/Proof until November. Francis was sentenced to 25 years w/o parole for the shooting death of a grocery store clerk in furtherance of a 1986 robbery (luckily for him we don’t have felony murder in KY). Francis, who had never touched a paint brush or worked a piece of paper, has become one of the most important papier-mâché artists to date. His vignettes depict prison life, with a strong message against the death penalty.

Prof. Roberta Harding

I first learned of Francis when a professor I befriended while at UofK Law, Roberta Harding, was giving an interview on NPR, praising his work. Her words caused me to inquire further and to investigate his works, which are mind-blowing and it can be difficult to overcome the disbelief that his creations are actually merely toilet paper, which in the beginning was formed using water from his toilet bowl. Prof. Harding has in large part been the reason for Francis’ success (although clearly it ultimately comes down to his talent, she was the one who has gotten him the due exposure).

While the opportunity remains, you should really go check out Francis’ work. He is doing some amazing things, and while the range is not terribly expansive, I think you will be shocked at the attention to detail and vision this man has…

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