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Self-Taught Art
Folk Artists

Daniel (Stretch) Watson

Daniel G. Watson: Shirley Temple (225)For almost a decade the Phyllis Kind gallery has included works by prisoners in the roster of self-taught artists whom she represents. Daniel Watson, a Vietnam Veteran and college graduate with a social conscience, is doing a life sentence for murder. His paintings are commentaries on global issues from a California vantage point.

He studies art history and loves surrealism. Stretch uses intense color deliberately to create an unreal atmosphere and to emphasize the drama.

Stretch has gone through his own self-educating process. He began by drawing the most horrible drawings — clowns with balloons, portraits of Uncle Sam. But suddenly he came into his own. He did a series of trucks — half underground — that was amazing. He's a lifer and spends a lot of time on his art. He'll do realistic portraits of guys in his cell block in trade for favors, or these imaginative works because he knows people outside respond to them. Watson has a "let's-see-what-goes-over" style.

Watson — "Although I see the negative possibility of the future, I don't think I'm really a cynic, because I believe that we humans are capable of reversing our present trends. I would like to think I'm part of that positive change."

Source: Excerpts from Cellblock Visions by Phyllis Kornfeld and a interview with Phyllis Kind

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