Artist Features

Tracy Schlapp

Letterpress and guache print of netlike shape with the words "PRISONS HAVE A MEMORY" printed over the top

Schlapp, Tracy. Prisons Have A Long Memory, 2021. 2022 Individual Artist Fellow and Joan Shipley Award recipient, Oregon Arts Commission.

Originally published February, 2022

Tracy Schlapp’s work is collaborative. As Cumbersome Multiples founder, she has worked with artists and writers to create limited-edition multiples, artwork and performances. She produces small-batch paper ephemera, including the Fresh Ink letterpress subscription. Her work is immediate, political and (as is the nature of letterpress) laborious. Since 2018, Tracy has developed Folsom50, art and musical experiences for people confined in prison through the nonprofit Bridgeworks Oregon. She has produced concerts statewide and distributed thousands of handmade playbills to imprisoned audience members; run printing and writing workshops; and performed a musical lecture about incarceration. COVID closed prison to volunteers, so she focused her work on a writing exchange with a group of lifers at Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP). She curated a film series and wrote a companion workbook for people at OSP to engage them in discussion and writing. In 2022, she will expand this program to four additional prisons. Her studio practice has expanded with “Redemption Prints,” type-based portraits that have transformed into drawings and led to sculptural work.

Courtesy of the Oregon Arts Commission.

Artist Credit: Tracy Schlapp