~ALFREDO MARTINEZ/DRAWING FROM PRISON/OCT 12, 2004
. . . while we were searching for the STEVEN PARRINO PHOTOS – we happened across these photos, taken in Oct 2004, of an early 2003 ALFREDO MARTINEZ PRISON DRAWING smuggled out of prison through the U.S. POSTAL SERVICES – i.e. the regular mail – which is why it’s got all those fold marks – it arrived at the Lower East Side – artlovers office – in a 8 x 10 in. manilla envelope.
It depicts Alfredo as he saw himself, as he was strapped down to a gurney – going through forced feeding, in jail – the MDC (Metropolitan Detention Center) – in Manhattan. Alfredo was put away for a good couple of years for forging JEAN MICHEL BASQUIAT paintings. (and successfully selling them on the open market !!)
Being a control freak, and an ‘art diva’ in his own ‘humble ways’, and thus, initially unable to deal with incarceration – he went on a hunger strike for quite a few months, supposedly because they would not let him make art. (a little dicey – since his main chief d-oeuvre/ and subject matter is making – working – guns out of recycled materials, no less). Needless to say the authorities finally figured out he wasn’t dangerous and put him to work in the .. KITCHEN !! – which solved that problem. (hunger strikes)
Alfredo used foodstuffs from the kitchen supplies, i.e. little bags of coffee and jello packages, to come up with color pigments to draw with, and a fellow (Russian) inmate showed him how to make sturdy homemade drawing paper out of torn book pages – or – in this case – using letters he was receiving from friends – mixed with flour paste. Alfredo rose to the occasion and switched subject matter – and started making portraits, for the first time – first of himself – being force fed – and then later turned to making portraits, of his fellow inmates – a ploy that catapulted him back on top of the social heap in prison – no mean feat – as being seen as a prisoner with some very threatening skills (i.e. being able to manufacture homemade guns or weapons – out of anything, and we mean a-n-y-t-h-i–n-g) – he was in lock down with some pretty heavy characters.
ALFREDO MARTINEZ, Prison Drawing, on homemade paper made from letters, and
signed: FNS … with his inmate number…MDC 2003.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH, OCT 7, 2004