Joseph Tipay

My work deals with the effects felt by those with a parent or parents in prison. I draw from the experience of having a father in and out of prison for most of my life. This struggle has allowed me to connect to family members who have gone through similar experiences. Over time they have shared intimate details of events that have shaped their lives. I conduct informal interviews and research to create and support this social narrative along with this deep-rooted knowledge. Some themes include communicating through prison walls, maintaining relationships, intergenerational incarceration, crime, gangs, drug abuse, and breaking the cycle. I also touch on unconditional love, humanity, the separation of family, and telling a side of the story that people are unaware of or are insensitive to.

Printmaking is a traditional medium adopted by both Mexican and Chicano artists/activists, and it allows communication to a large audience through the production of multiples. I continue this tradition by making large-scale woodcuts. With the woodcut technique, I’m taking something stiff and rigid and transforming it into something beautiful. These are qualities that my subjects share as well. It is a challenging subject brought into a different light. With that said, my goal is to unify the street world and the fine art world by putting some images up in the street so that it’s in context, while also making pieces for the gallery.