How "Criminal" Couture Begain...
Project “Criminal” Couture was founded in 2013 when Corzell and Myself, Emily started writing and connected based off of our commitment to serving the incarcerated community, criticism of the Prison Industrial Complex, and love for art/fashion.
Over the thirteen years Corzell has been incarcerated, he has forged relationships with dozens of incarcerated artists, collected their works and sent it out to family and friends. He has always been struck by the way in which art can be used as an effective tool to keep his largely isolated community in touch with the outside world. He views art as a healthy way to maintain relationships that are often heavily taxed by the oppressive prison system.
Trained As a filmmaker, performance artist, and art therapist; I am deeply aware of the therapeutic and transformative powers of art for the maker, as well as her audience. After writing to Corzell, then exchanging art and poetry for several months, we agreed to use our unique skills to increase the quality of life for incarcerated artists, while raising awareness about racial injustice, prison conditions, mass incarceration, and abolitionist politics.
Sence its inception we have worked with over twenty incarcerated artisits, poets, and musicians as well as post-incarcerated street perfomers and other local artists/activists/students. We have a thriving web-community and hope to connect with others doing similar work throughout the years to come.
"The Marage of Freedom" by: Emily Kissner, The Marage of freedom is a digital collage that will oneday be turned into a Criminal Couture Textile, this peice explores the taskes it takes for one to successful transend the cycle of incarceration. Paroling out of prison is only half the battle, many post incarcerated individuals encounter the stigma associated with thier incarceration, poverty, unemplyment, issues with reconnecting to family or any form of support system, all while having every move scrutinized by a parol officer.