The turtles are two teenage and one adolescent, and now are mutant orange. When I’m out there, all I think about is being back home and C. and I being at the camp. I can’t even cast a line anymore because I’m so ready to be home. It actually makes me sick. All these memories of fishing with R. run through my head. So, I just can’t enjoy myself by fishing. I’ve become the shiner catcher (minnows). I use a seven foot dip net and walk the bank with a five gallon bucket and that net, and I always nail the bait. I find I get more peace doing for the crew by getting bait.

T-Roe, October 9, 2010

tattoo proposal, praia do espelho

tattoo proposal, praia do espelho, 62x32cm © Holly Pitre


detail, praia do espelho © Holly Pitre


tattoo proposal, minas mountains, 62x32cm © Holly Pitre



T-Roe has been told that he will go before the board that decides if he is qualified for the Transitional Work Program (formerly Work Release), one that allows inmates of excellent rapport to work outside prison confines. The income that an inmate earns while in the Work Release program is saved (minus expenses) until he/she completes his/her sentence. Once the sentence is fully served, the inmate then has a nest egg to begin life again. Not only is the income helpful, but the re-initiation into a working society can help prepare a person for the demands of holding down a job, building constructive relationships, etc.

Since the last post, T-Roe and I have continued to keep in touch via a new email service provider for the prison system. I have been applying to numerous open calls, researching graduate schools, and continuing to learn Portuguese.

I decided to explore the idea of actually using a prison styled tattoo gun to make drawings. I re-worked the design of the machine so that it would work more efficiently. Here’s the result, below.

new tattoo machine

new tattoo machine


Here are some of the first test images. I think of them as tattoo proposals. At the moment, these are  abstract compositions, testing the line and color combinations.

More to come soon.

drawing 2 closeup

test tattoo





abstract tattoo test

color test


I recently watched this panel discussion on power and art led by artist Jessica Stockholder, Director of Graduate Studies in Sculpture at Yale University back in 2006.

I’m still turning this discussion over in my head. Many ideas and statements worth further thought and discussion. But here are a couple of comments that really struck me, both made by Nayland Blake:

– “This constant question of “can art make change?” Well, art is change.”

– “Once you accept that power is located where somebody tells you it is, you’ve already lost significant ground. The anixety with which so many young artist worry about what they think of as existing power structures, in some ways, this is already a done deal because you’re believing that power is located in a place that you don’t have access to, and ignoring those places that you do have access to power, and how, and, most importantly, the ways in which you exercise that power, on a daily basis…The root of power is the ability to do. The question is “power for what?”

I think I was so struck by these words from Blake, because that is just what this project is about. Change and what we can do.

Any thoughts, dear friends?

T-ROE: For those of you who have been writing to T-Roe, he has recently been moved to a new facility. If you’d like to write him at his new address please let me know by leaving me your email address in the comments section on the left.

WORKS: I’m working on a new group of wall objects that are made of a copper plate, security envelopes, and hardware on wood. The copper is reflective and has excerpts from some of T-Roe letters to me etched into them. I copied his handwriting and it is backwards. So, the result is that your eye does this rack focus between your own image and the difficult-to-read letter passage.

Here’s a test image.

mock up for a new group of mirror objects to be hung on the wall. copper and security envelopes




I’ve been working on a two-part printing process that involved silkscreen and copper plate etching in the FAAP printmaking facilities. My idea was to make some works that could speak to the element of communication in this long project with my brother. At first I wanted to pull excerpts from his letters. This is where the etching came in. But, although the thought of the two processes working together in one piece was interesting, the prints I was making just looked like an exact copy of a letter. Then, I realized that I could just work with the silkscreen, changing the colors of the lines of the note paper image.

These exist in sets of 12 each, and I’m still deciding how to display them.

silkscreen on 100% cotton Hahnemühle paper, 35 x 44 cm




















silkscreen on 100% cotton Hahnemühle paper, 35 x 44 cm

silkscreen on 100% cotton Hahnemühle paper, 35 x 44 cm

These pieces from the “Dust Works” series are the residue from one step in the process of making the “Penitentiary Tattoo Gun” series. To make the casing for the needle of the machine, the tip of a ballpoint pen must be scratched out. Through this tedious process, inked rock dust is produced. These works become an artifact of the build up of time this takes and the meditative quality of this process.

"Dust Work, #11" from the "Sorry I haven't written in so long," project, 2012, inked rock dust on paper

"Dust Work, #10" from the "Sorry I haven't written in so long," project, 2012, inked rock dust on paper

"Dust Work, #9" from the "Sorry I haven't written in so long," project

"Dust Work, #9" from the "Sorry I haven't written in so long," project, 2012, inked rock dust on paper

"Dust Work, #8" from the "Sorry I haven't written in so long," project, 2012, inked rock dust on paper

I’ve been meaning to put together a nice post of the clear ideas I’ve been developing here at FAAP. The truth is that it’s been a bit of a time of catch-up for me. I’ve been thinking that it might be a good idea to add a dimension of theory to what I do and to the project that this blog chronicles. So I dove into some essential reading: Benjamin’s “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, Krauss’s “Sculpture in the Expanded Field”, and am now onto Danto’s “The Transfiguration of the Commonplace”. Trying to understand what, if anything, these seminal essays have to say about my practice. I’ve been thinking about what Benjamin calls the “aura” of the non-mechanically reproduced work of art. Is it ever possible to give or return the photograph/film/etc its aura?

Also on my mind is Samuel Beckett‘s articulation of the impossibility of communication…

To be continued, of course.