America, supposedly the land of freedom and democracy, has become incarceration nation. Almost one out of every hundred Americans is now in prison, the largest percentage of any developed country in the world. Artist Gil Batle was born in the Philippines, but he spent over 20 years of his life in the prisons of California. One would think that prison is punishment enough, but as Batle discovered, inmates also face violence, humiliation, and racial segregation. His saving grace was his ability to draw. While in prison, he managed to cope and acclimate to the environment by practicing tattoo art on his fellow prisoners. Now a former detainee, he makes art professionally, carving impressive ornate illustrations of his experiences onto ostrich eggs. While his creations are beautiful, many depict the ugliness of human nature. His carvings recount the violent men he knew, the terrifying events he witnessed, as well as the friendships born out of horrible conditions. Gil Batle’s “Hatched in Prison” will be on view at the Ricco/Maresca gallery in New York from November 5th, 2015 to January 9th, 2016.