Chris Crites' startling series of mug shots reveals the essential humanity of the dehumanized criminal, reduced to a series of numbers and a list of offenses and locked away from sight. We read into their expressions and project ourselves into their state of mind, envisioning a history that is as likely false as it is accurate, and our sympathies for their imagined life is irrepressible. For an instant we like to think their humanity is restored through our fleeting connection, but the feeling is illusory.
"I didn't do anything" - 15" x 13"
Using paper bags as a canvas and deftly exploiting the material's sharp folds and wrinkles, Crites provides a new context for these criminal portraits, employing a disposable frame for socially disposable people. The dirty quality of the paper bags both elevate the contrast between the brightly colored portraits and their dingy backdrop, as well as provide an emotional "tooth" to their stories. Although we may never known the substance of their lives, the stories we create encourage compassion in our everyday interactions, making us more aware of the troubles and skeletons hiding in everyone's closet, including our own.
"Larceny" - 57.5" x 41.5"
"Murder" - 12" x 9"
To see more, visit Chris Crites' website at www.bagpainter.com.
Guest Written by:
Juxtapoz Assistant Illustration Editor
Laura is a freelance illustrator based out of Tucson, AZ.