Some Fruits of my Research

I’m not sure I’ve talked about it here yet, but I’ve been working for close to a month now with Boom magazine, a journal of California (which you can check out here, I’d highly recommend you do) as an Editorial Assistant.  One professor I had over the Fall 2015 semester brought me along when he was invited to put together the next three or so issues, and I’ve been really grateful to have the extra work to keep me busy!  Mostly it’s been things that I’m pretty used to thanks to my newspaper experience: Researching information, fact checking and section editing academic essays, writing bios, that sort of thing.

However, one thing I’ve had to do with Boom that I’m not totally used to is image research.  With my journalism experience, most of the time getting an image boils down to asking the photo editor to get something that’ll relate to a particular story we might be running.  In this case, I’ve been asked to actually look around and try to find possible images that we could use to supplement the essays that are going in the magazine.

The upcoming issue that I’ve been working on is focused on the prison system in California.  Let me tell you, finding good images related to prisons that aren’t just pictures of drab prison architecture is a tough job.  Mostly I’ve been searching around for artwork done by prisoners, which have brought me some cool finds.  I figured I’d share one of them here, since I think it’s pretty worth looking at!

lady_dragon_large
“Woman and Dragon” by Gabriel Ramirez, currently in Pelican Bay State Prison.  Image courtesy of artrelease.org

This piece, and most of this artist’s work at that, is not only really gorgeous to look at, it’s also a pretty impressive feat of creativity under restriction.  Ramirez is being held in a Security Housing Unit (SHU), which is essentially a really high security isolation containment used in California – Though I’d read more about it here, since I’m not necessarily an expert on the subject. SHU’s are one of the focuses of the piece I read that inspired me to go out and find this piece of artwork, and according to the site where I pulled it from, “The colors on these drawings were developed by scraping paper pulp out of old magazines. Utilizing a rolled up piece of toilet paper dipped in the pulp, the scrapings are transferred onto the drawing paper.”  Awesome to think about, if you ask me!

If you want to learn more about the California prison system in various facets through articles written by prominent figures in modern Californian writing, or if you want to potentially see more cool artwork done by prisoners, be sure to check out the next issue of Boom!  I personally don’t know when exactly it’s to be released yet because we’re still working on it, but I know it’ll be relatively soon, so I’ll keep you all updated on when you can get your hands on it.

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