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Imprisoned in the Land of the Free
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Karin Alpert
Encino , California - United States
Printmaking - Other/Misc.

I am 22 years old, from Los Angeles California. I am currently a senior studying at the University of Michigan School of Art and Design working towards receiving my BFA this spring. This website shows a glimpse of the project I have been working on all year.
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Artist Statement
Imprisoned in the Land of the Free is a project that was inspired by my interest and involvement with the issue of incarceration in the United States. Through my involvement and studies of the prison system, I have learned that overly strict sentencing guidelines, overcrowding and reentry plague our nation. Additionally, public perception of prison mates is an enormous problem. Over the last thirty years, the prison population has sextupled. Billions of dollars are being spent building and maintaining prisons without solving any of the pressing underlying issues that exist.

With my artwork, I hope to change the way outsiders view the system and the citizens locked up behind bars. Through printmaking, I am creating propaganda artwork to point out the flaws in the system and the unintended consequences. Printmaking allows me to express my point of view on this critical issue, bringing it out of the studio and into the streets.

An organization called PCAP (Prison Creative Arts Project) has been my main inspiration. PCAP is a non-profit that aims to give those that are incarcerated a creative outlet through visual art, creative writing, theatre and music. I have been involved with PCAP since sophomore year and have personally witnessed how powerful the arts can be. I have taken time to share my love for art with juveniles in detention centers in Michigan, teaching 17 year-olds how to paint. I taught a workshop at Boysville and a portfolio course at the Lincoln Center. I have taken courses both in the art school and LSA on incarceration in America and its effects on society and have also read numerous books relating to incarceration. One author that has truly touched my way of thinking is Judith Tannenbaum, a prison advocate who has written many books on incarceration. I have also been inspired by Beth Thielen, an artist who leads an art workshop at San Quentin in San Francisco.

I am creating large-scale propaganda posters through the use of stencil making and spray paint, materials that are extremely relevant to politics and street art. My posters address issues of unemployment, overcrowding, crime, violence, drug abuse, poverty and homelessness in the inner city. While my series of prints addresses each issue individually, I have found it incredibly important to address all these topics in one forum, for; these topics are all entwined in incarceration. My intention was to portray how each problem serves a major role in the cycle of incarceration, release and reentry in the United States.

Through the style of political cartoons and war posters, I have worked to show that mass incarceration is hurting our country as a whole, destroying families, schools, communities, and cities. I appropriate the style of propaganda war posters to critique the prison system, using images of current events relating to incarceration. I hope to not only show my thoughts and opinions on the affects of mass incarceration on America, but also to persuade others to rethink their own opinions on this controversial matter.

16004 Valley Vista Blvd. Encino, CA 91436
EMAIL: CELL: (818) 653-2463

• University of Michigan School of Art and Design September 2006 – Present
• University College London, Slade School of Art January- May 2009
• Milken Community High School, Los Angeles CA September 2002 – June 2006
• Lady Davis High School, Tel Aviv Israel Spring 2004

• Popular (retail store) – Sales and Painted Mural December 2002 – June 2006
• Photography Assistant - Violet Magazine August 2005

• Prison Creative Arts Project January 2008 - Present
• Piece by Piece – Non profit teaching mosaic art to homeless April 2007 – Present
• Detroit Connections – 4th grade art workshop January – April 2008
• Ways of Seeing – Teaching Clay to the Blind January – April 2008
• National Art Honors Society September 2004 – June 2006
• Ryman Arts Program February 2005 –February 2006
• California State Summer School for the Arts July– August 2005
• Teen Docent at Skirball Cultural Center August 2004 – May 2005

• Concern Foundation January 2002 – Present
• El Salvador – A community service mission April 2005

• Israel Exchange Program August 2003 – June 2004
• Beit Izzi Shapira -worked with disabled children March– May 2004

• University of Michigan Scholars Award September 2006 – Present
• 2010 Conference, Human Rights & the Humanities Exhibit February 2010
• Solo Exhibition- Milken Community High School April 2006
• California State Summer School for the Arts Governor’s Medallion August 2005
• National Youth Leadership Forum on Law September 2005

• Drawing
• Painting
• Photography
• Print Making
• Sewing
• Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator
• Ceramics
• Book Arts

• Conceptualization
• Visualization and presentation
• Knowledge of art history & culture
• Attention to detail
• Creative Problem Solving
• Good Imagination
• Mastery of art/design tools, ideas, & technique
• Able to critically analyze and interpret art

References available upon request


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