Artwork > Paintings

Mixed media encaustic painting with key inspired by a visit to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA by Crystala Armagost
Encaustic, oil, plaster, metal lathe, resin, key, and found dirt, paint, and plaster chips on wood panel


Convicts at Eastern State Penitentiary once dug an elaborate tunnel over 100 feet long using mostly just spoons. While walking down the halls of the ruins one can see the giant steel padlocks that were used to secure the cells. But grand stories of tunnel escapes had me imagining the dreams of prisoners wrought with images of secretly procured skeleton keys, tucked away in a hiding place awaiting the perfect opportunity for use. An actual key is buried in over a dozen layers of resin within this painting's surface which was constructed much like an actual wall, with metal lathe layered over with plaster and layers of green encaustic wax paint and actual dirt from the ground at the penitentiary.