DarRen Morris is an artist and published author who is incarcerated at Green Bay Correctional Institution. He is represented by Colleen Brulla who is submitting this application on his behalf and holds legal authority of his artwork.
About DarRen Morris:
DarRen Morris paints from his memories, his spirituality and his current life inside one of Wisconsin’s maximum-security prisons. He sees the world through pattern and color and light despite being in a place that lacks a full pallet of hues. He has no formal artistic training, so his styles range greatly. He will paint on any surface available, including cardboard. He must paint. It is his way of enduring his life sentence (given at age 17). In prison, he is limited to student grade paints and some pastels. He can never stand more than four feet from his work to gain perspective. He paints from his African Jamaican and Rastafari roots. He often paints semi self-portraits because there are no models for his portraits inside.
When asked why he paints, he responds, “Why do I paint? It is a hard question to answer. It is like, how does a fish breathe in water? I paint because I must. I cannot say when I began my attraction to art because as long as I can remember it has always been a part of me. It goes back so far that I cannot trace it to a particular point. Shapes and colors have always stood out to me. As a kid, I really didn’t talk a lot. I had a hearing impairment that hadn’t been treated yet, but I didn’t know I heard differently. So for me, my experience of the world was always based on mostly what I saw. Colors and shapes just always stood out. I remember the world visually. As a boy, every opportunity I got I would be sketching and drawing, although I did not know then that there were actual Black artists. Art is innate for me; it is deeply ingrained into who I have always been. Now, in prison, it is my survival.”State