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a few years ago i wrote an essay for KAIRAN entitled "Necessity is the Motherfucker of Invention"-- Donny Johnson's situation--solitary confinement, no window--no art supplies--don't think of the bars but the spaces in between--what can you have come in to make use of?--and what is there that you see to paint?-- how to obtain colors in this environment, how to make a brush?--how to see and imagine colors?-- There's a lot to learn & think on with Donny Johnson-- (In the film QUILL the successive series of ever more confined strategies the Marquis de Sade has to use to write in prison is shown--ending with writing in his own excrement on the walls. Very literary and Freudian and expected. M & Ms --something unexpected! A bit like Art Brut artists in asylums who create works in chewed bread. The best part in QUILL is when he is going to write Sade slyly begins humming "Au clair de la lune"--as it has the line "pretes-moi ma plume"--"bring me my quill"--used to sing this very o

NATIONAL   | July 21, 2006
Behind Bars, He Turns M&M’s Into an Art Form
By ADAM LIPTAK
Donny Johnson, who is in solitary confinement, leaches paints from M&M’s and uses blank postcards as canvases.


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