Essex County Jail

 

 

The former Essex Country Jail sits forlorn and abandoned amidst desolate parking lots and lifeless prefab boxes. In the so-called University Heights “neighborhood,” the jail is testimony to the past. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, this 1837 structure is one of the oldest jails in America. Abandoned for over thirty years, no successful preservation efforts have materialized.

Gradually, the urban jungle of junk trees, vines, and garbage conquers the veritable old fortress. The warden’s garden that zealous prisoners formerly pruned and weeded is now overrun with weeds. Used syringes line the cell-block floors. Not a single window is unbroken. Not a single wall is straight or strong. The rigid geometry defined this urban castle is now blanketed in decay.

Yet, this fortress of old is still a home. A constant trail of homeless squeeze through the rusted barbed wire fencing. They carry with them their few odd “valuables,” cans to be recycled or shopping bags of discarded clothes. Every night, they sleep in the very cells their luckless brethren slept in decades before. Every day, they aimlessly wander city streets. Ironically, the physical prison of brute force and searchlights has evolved into a metaphorical bastion of poverty. Both prisons, new and old, are refuges for the luckless. As its occupants have changed, so has the prison. Both are ghosts. Both are vanishing.

Explore this jail as an interactive exhibit online.

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To see a film featuring the work above: click here

Space Age Imagery

When I gaze at the night sky, I wonder, “What does that infinite darkness contain?” I imagine a plethora of other worlds I can only dream of. I see worlds where gravity and inertia vanishes. I see worlds devoid of directions and natural geometry. It is a world of my own fabrication, superimposed over the pitch black sky. While I cannot visit such a place, I can still put image to paper.

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Chirico

Tower of Light

This lightweight and colorful creation explores how perception alters through shifting one’s vantage point. Inspired by the shapes of Italian Futurist sculptures, this “tree” is part sculpture, part Tower of Babel, and part abstract spaceship. Dimensions: 3 ft diameter base by 8 ft high. Materials: Zome erector kit and floodlight beneath for shadows and contrast.

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christmas tree

 

Stage Sets

The Hudson School in Hoboken, where I attended much of middle and high school had an active student theater scene. For various productions, classmates and staff asked me to design, execute, and paint the stage set to reflect different themes and environments. Each set is divided into two, 8 by 16 foot plywood panels. I begun by creating scaled drawings shown below. I then translated these drawings onto the full stage set wall, first with a chalk underdrawing and then above with acrylic paint. Sometimes, for lower budget or time-sensitive productions, the mere chalk sketch was sufficient.

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Wizard of Oz (2013)

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Death Sketch (2012)

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.Pirates of PenzancePirates of Penzance (2015)

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Uncle Philips Coat

Uncle Phillips Coat (2014)

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stage set finalParadise (2014)

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Wizard of Oz Set

Wizard of Oz (2013)

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Death Set Final

Death (2012)

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The Nightmare Before ChistmasNightmare Before Christmas (2011)

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The Nightmare before ChristmasNightmare Before Christmas (2011)

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Crazy for You SetCrazy for You (2010)