2020 and Beyond


In the winter of 2019, a Global airborne virus called Covid-19 struck the world. Because it was novel and lethal, Global safety measures meant large gatherings were banned. These safety measures along with there being no cure for the virus, has hurt the travel industry, sports and entertainment industry, and the Arts. No theatrical performances, nor exhibitions at galleries nor museums. Despite these challenges, the artist will be exhibiting work in 2020, and we will keep this site updated.

For more information read:

How Covid Impacts Prison Art Exhibits | darealprisonart


CCAD 2020 Fashion Show

"Mercy" fashion line by Makenzie Stilies
"Mercy" fashion line by Makenzie Stilies

The spring of 2020 would have seen for the first time in the global history of fashion shows, models walking down the catwalk in clothing embedded with images from prison art. However, Covid-19 restrictions prevented this from becoming a reality.

Columbus College of Art and Design 4th year undergrad student Makenzie Stiles had her final year to create a fashion line. It was a moment for self-expression, but she wasn't thinking about herself. She was thinking of those who had no voice. She would use her opportunity for the public to hear the voice of prisoners. Prisoners who spoke how she spoke, visually. Her Opus to the world of fashion design is called Mercy. A boutique set of fashion designs created with black ink and images of prison art; tattooed into high quality white leather. The designer had no point person to turn to, as the entire process and project was so novel, even to the 141-year-old private academic institution. In 2019 she teamed up with C-Note as her principle artist. He provided her access to his artwork, as well as the artwork of other prisons.

For more information read:

Fashion's Corona Casualties. Photographed by Gabor Jurina, courtesy... | by Hoodoverhollywood | Medium


Beauty Behind Bars/No More Shame 2020

Beauty Behind Bars/No More Shame was a prison art exhibition scheduled for August 16, 2020, at the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts. The event was cancelled due to Covid-19 health restrictions. The event curator was Ericka Scott, the owner and founder of Honey Art Studio. This event was a labor of love with her co-curator, her husband Pride. Pride is a California State prisoner and introduced his wife to prison art. They have been collaborating in this space for over half-a-decade.

"We were hoping to have a live showing of the work at the SF Yerba Buena for Arts on Sunday August 16, 2020," says Ericka Scott. "The goal was to print the art work and hang them on the inside of the glass windows so people can see the pieces from the outside (due to COVID). The idea was still being discussed. If it would have been set up, individuals would have been encouraged to practice social distancing while viewing.We are creating a virtual gallery of the work which will be displayed on the YBCA website. Their Marketing team is fully engaged to help get visibility for the project."

One work that was selected and published on the Honey Art Studio website is C-Note's work Strange Fruit. Strange Fruit was created to raise awareness of the suicide rate at the California Institution for Women (C.I.W.). During an 18-month period in 2014-15, the suicide rate at C.I.W. was eight times the national average for women prisoners, and five times the rate for the entire California prison system.

Birds, Bees, Butterflies and Flowers 2020

Birds, Bees, Butterflies and Flower was an exhibition of prison art for the fall of 2020. The exhibition had been curated by Leslie Lakes, the director of Prison Art Touching Hearts, P.A.T.H.. Proceeds from the exhibition was designated for the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

C-Note's donated work
C-Note's donated work

"I had worked very hard; 1 to 1-1/2 years ago approaching and communicating with various art gallery venues to get exhibits of inmate artwork on their 2020 calendars, and due to Covid, ALL THREE MAJOR INMATE ART EXHIBITS WERE CANCELLED FOR THIS YEAR. Terribly frustrating and disappointing. Cannot recoup that time," says Lakes. "Now that the exhibit will not take place as scheduled, I am starting to list the individual pieces for sale on Ebay. Ebay has a special feature where one can select a charitable non profit foundation. Sale of the art will go directly to the ST. JUDE CHILDREN'S RESEARCH HOSPITAL as was originally planned."

BACK TO LIFE: 5th International Art Competition 2020

In January of 2021 an international jury of art experts selected the winners of Art and Prison’s 5th International Art Competition. The theme of the competition is Back to Life.

489 entries were received from across the globe by men, women, or juveniles, who at the time of submitting their artwork were in prison, in remand pending deportation, under court-ordered supervision in hospitals, or on work release.

These works are part of a unique collection of Prison Art that will be shown throughout Europe in a travelling exhibition. The first exhibition will be held on the 23rd of June 2021 – 12th of September 2021, National Museum of Liechtenstein, Vaduz.

The traveling exhibition, accompanying publications and targeted publicity campaign are intended to make the public aware of the realities of life in prison.

Other purposes are to encourage prisoners to engage in the creation of art and give the public the opportunities to appreciate this art. Encourage prisoners to reflect on their lives through art and to use the freedom of art to create while living in conditions in which their freedom is otherwise non-existent.

Overcome the exclusion of prisoners through the creativity of art and bring people „inside“ and „outside“ in contact with one another, if possible in a personal interaction. Convey positive impulses for personal development; promote personal interaction with other people that can contribute to security, re-socialization and reintegration into society.

The announcement of the winners were conveyed in multiple languages, and the ten best works received cash prizes. If it's possible, each participant will receive a certificate of participation.

This year's announced First place winner came with a bit of a controversy, as it was revealed to be from a template that was used for the film The Shawshank Redemption (1994). As a result, the award-winning works each moved up one place in the ranking.

C-Note's piece Return to Vitality was juried in at number ninety-six (96). Many of his works created specifically for a themed exhibition are named after the theme. This work is no different, but he decided to switch it up. Return to Vitality is a word play on Back to Life.

Return to Vitality is 8 ½ in. x 11 ½ in. (21.5 cm. x 26.5 cm) work of wax on the back of a legal tablet (cardboard). It depicts an African-American male outside of a prison with nothing on but the cutoff shorts worn by the field slave of old. Near him on the ground are his effects, as the searchlight from a prison guard tower searches the inside of the prison grounds. While he appears to be running, his fists are closed and his palms are facing up. Try it for yourself. This it's not how the body would position itself for running, but for dancing. Take into account his facial muscles, and we are not witnessing the breathing upheaval of running scared, but the movements of a man in Jazz.

To learn more about Art and Prison’s 5th International Art Competition themed Back to Life visit the website below:

Kunst aus dem Gefängnis - ART AND PRISON


Excerpt from Free Virtual Art Exhibition (1-Artist; 1-Subject; 21-Works)


Free Virtual Art Exhibition (1-Artist; 1-Subject; 21-Works) 2021

Hurricane Ida (2021)

In the waning days of August 2021, Category 4 Hurricane Ida was on a direct collusion course with Louisiana. Winds gusted at 140mph with thousands evacuating New Orleans and other communities in Ida's projected path. As it had been with the Category 5 Hurricane Dorian, C-Note's 2017 Hurricane Harvey inspired public announcement art During the Flood was used by grassroots organizations to warn against the human suffering that would be reckoned on prisoners who were not sentenced to death, if they too we not evacuated. 

Art on Abolition (2021)

Art on Abolition is an online art exhibition from September to December of 2021. Curated by Freedom & Captivity. Freedom & Captivity is a United States, State of Maine based, Statewide Public Humanities Initiative. The exhibition is made up of roughly 95 exhibits with nearly 40 artists. The theme of the exhibition Art on Abolition, artists were given the following prompt, "What does abolition look like, sound like, feel like? All submissions were juried

The exhibition has four themes:

  1. History and New Futures

  2. History lives in the present, visibly and invisibly, memorialized in public and disappeared into private memories. Some of the works in this theme honor events, people, and structures of feeling that hover at the underside of memory and breathe life into possibilities for future transformations. Other works take the future as the present, offering a distanced reflection on current carceral practices.

  3. Protest and Revolution

  4. The contemporary abolitionist movement is part of a long struggle for freedom and liberation from carceral systems created to support white supremacy, colonialism, and inequality. Art that documents and celebrates these struggles can motivate and clarify, embolden and enrage, and offer inspiration for revolutionary change.

  5. Finding Voice, Power, Joy

  6. Carcerality silences, disappears, and destroys. Abolition validates, repairs, and liberates. These works show the power of art for finding voice - to challenge oppression, express joy, build community and solidarity, and claim shared humanity.

  7. Liberation

  8. What does liberation look like, sound like, move like, feel like? Art offers unique access to liberation's sensoria, exhibited here in fantasy visions and soundwaves, movement and lyricism. The radical imagination and expression of freedom is liberatory.

16-works are in the theme History and New Futures. 21-works are in the theme Protest and Revolution. 31-works are in the theme Finding Voice, Power, Joy. 16-works are in the theme Liberation. C-Note has two works in the Liberation theme. A brand new paintoem titled The Prism of Abolitionism. The painting is from his 2018 work Tear Down This Wall. Tear Down This Wall was a work created for the 20th anniversary of the formation of the grassroots organization Critical Resistance. The poem begins with the opening stanza "To be handed/Angela Davis's prism/on abolitionism." With the 2003 release of her book Are Prisons Obsolete, Angela Y. Davis has been on the frontline of the movement when it wasn't sexy prior to 2010.

The other work on exhibit by C-Note is the 10:00 movie short Abolish It. Abolish It stars C-Note and Min King X Aka Pyeface, with the soundtrack being produced by Min King X Aka Pyeface and featuring his sister Abrique Brown on vocals. The movie chronicles how C-Note and King first meet in prison, and how Art has played a role in their shared journey. While C-Note is still locked up, King is free, and is pursuing their dream of going from the Kage to the Stage.