C-Note's Painterly Source Material
From readily available documentary sources
Faith & Hope Art Shows
Many of C-Note's works are donated to grassroots organizations for fundraising purposes. On the flip side to the Prison Industrial Complex, is an ecology of working-class families and activist who support prisoners' human rights. This support can come, in the form of petition drives to get initiatives placed on Statewide ballots, caravanning to state capitals to meet with lawmakers, organize events around prison awareness, fund reentry programs for returning citizens, and provide direct financial stipends to families with a loved one behind bars. One of the principal means of financing these activities, is through the sale of prisoner made art. The Faith & Hope Art Shows: Beyond Prison Walls- Art of the Incarcerated are a signature for the Partnership for Re-Entry Program, known as PREP. These shows serve, not only as fundraisers, but as a two-fold education in:
1.) The work that PREP does with the incarcerated through self-help correspondence courses in providing rehabilitation;
a.) PREP also greatly values prison visits to give presence and restore dignity to the inmates; and
b.) That positive programming in prison transforms inmates to return to the community;
2.) The staff at the art shows are living proof of this change; and
a.) Staff members talk at the Masses and receive much praise for their change and new life
Art Escape at Alcatraz
Art Escape at Alcatraz was a Prisoner Art exhibition on the Island of Alcatraz, May 1, 2017, through June 30, 2017. It was curated by the founder of Prison Arts Touching Hearts, P.A.T.H., Leslie Lakes. While the exhibition was primarily on the island, there were two privately curated collections of vintage ephemera and smaller pieces of prisoner art at two area libraries, the Belvedere Tiburon Public Library in Tiburon, and the Anne T. Kent California Room at the Marin County Free Library in the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright, Marin County Civic Center Complex. A Bird Man's Dream (2017), is the name of the work that was specifically created by C-Note for the Art Escape at Alcatraz exhibition. A Bird Man's Dream was exhibited at the Frank Lloyd Wright building. The adjacent images: (Top) Certificate of Humanitarian Award from P.A.T.H.; (Bottom L) Photo of C-Note's work, A Bird Man's Dream, in the Kent Room's center display case; (Bottom R) Image of A Bird Man's Dream.
Faith & Hope Art Shows
The first show of the 2017-2018 season was held on September 22 at Homeboy Industries, in conjunction with their 5K walk/run. Followed by a show at the Pilgrim Place in Claremont, September 29. Money raised from these events were used to pay for the resources to help parolees and pre parolees make successful transitions back into society. For this season, C-Note donated his firsts. His first painting, My Dilemma (2009), and his first political work of visual art, Black August-Los Angeles (2016). Partnership for Re-Entry Program (PREP), and Homeboy Industries, are two of the restorative justice ministries of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The adjacent images: (Top) Certificate from PREP for C-Note's donation of My Dilemma and Black August-Los Angeles; (Bottom L) Image of My Dilemma; (Bottom R) Image of BlackAugust-Los Angeles.
Between Here and There:
International Fine Art Contest 2017
The 4th art competition of Art and Prison eV had received 371 entries from prisoners from 23 countries.
15 United Kingdom
14 USA, Italy
12 New Zealand, Estonia and Czech Republic
5 Belarus, Netherlands, Switzerland
1 Bolivia, Iceland.
The theme of the contest was "Between Here and There." Besides being an international prisoner art contest, Between Here and There first exhibited at the Liechtenstein National Museum in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, Germany, in 2018. It has since travelled to various cities in Europe. The work C-Note submitted is titled Between Here and There (2017). The adjacent images: (Top L) Flyer announcing the contest; (Top R) Image of C-Note's work, Between Here and There; (Bottom L) Certificate of Participation in the Between Here and There International Fine Art Contest of 2017; (Bottom R) Letter of thanx from Art and Prison eV for C-Note's participation in the event.
Everything Coffee was the name of a Prisoner Art exhibition curated by Treacy Ziegler of Prisoner Express. The exhibition consisted of two shows; one in January of 2018 at Gimme Coffee's Cayuga Street coffeehouse in Ithaca, New York; the other in March of 2018 at Gimme Coffee in Trumansburg, New York. Gimme Coffee is an Ithaca, New York, based coffee roaster, with stores in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Trumansburg, and on the campus of Cornell University. It has been buying, roasting, and serving specialty coffee, to New Yorkers for over 15-years. It is renowned for the quality of its products. Everything Coffee, like most Prisoner Art exhibitions, consisted of paintings and poetry. Visual artists were tasked with using coffee as their visual medium, as curators were not looking for commercial works of steaming cups of coffee. Coffee Bar (2017), is the title to the work submitted by C-Note. He used instant coffee as the base medium for the ice cream bar; while watercolor was sporadically used for highlights and lowlights; and floor wax was used as a glaze. The medium used for the woman was wax.
PE is a project of the Durland Alternatives Library. Through information, education, newsletters, and programs, PE creates an opportunity for incarcerated men and women to have a public forum for creative self-expression. Their mission is to bring hope and to foster a sense of community among the prisoners who participate.
The adjacent images: (Top) Video produced by Prisoner Express staff, showcasing the work of C-Note, and another prisoner; (Bottom) Image of C-Note's Coffee Bar.
Unlock Tomorrow Annual Fundraiser 2018
Unlock Tomorrow provides workshops and classes for young people who are incarcerated, or who have recently left the system. Their mission is to break through the barriers created by society to reach young people who have been forgotten or disregarded by their community, and to give them both hope and the skills to create something with their innate talent and ability. It provides programs, resources, and relationships, to the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated young person to free themselves from the criminal justice system. Built upon the conviction that every young person has the right to dream, discover their talent, and access the resources required to merge the two. Through mentorship, art, and educational offerings, Unlock Tomorrow brings developmental, practical and aspirational workshops and classes directly to detention centers. After-care continues following release through re-entry and alumni programming. Their end goal is no less than a paradigm shift: a culture that proves every day incarcerated is also one day closer to a fresh start. C-Note donated two works for the event, an untitled work, and Snack Time: Homage to Michelle Obama (2010). The proceeds that were being raised were predominately going towards the upcoming, month-long, symposium, (RE)Enter (RE)Think (RE)Store, on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles. The event was a joint symposium with Words Uncaged, to explore the relationships between prisons, education, and community. See Cal State LA, https://www.calstatela.edu/group-calendar-event-date/group-event-list/2018-06?group_events=116&field_event_category_tid=All
Images: Top (l) C-Note's work at an auction table; (c) Event flyer, and C-Note's "untitled" work; and (r) C-Note's work, Snack Time: Homage to Michelle Obama (2010). Bottom (l) June 2018 event flyer for the symposium, (RE)Enter (RE)Think (RE)Store, at California State University, Los Angeles.
Capitalizing on Justice 2018
Capitalizing on Justice was a prisoner art exhibition in October of 2018 at the Urban Justice Center, in Manhattan, New York City. The exhibition was curated by the Corrections Accountability Project (CAP), a criminal justice advocacy organization. The aim of the exhibition, according to CAP, was to raise awareness on the issue of "monetary exploitation of prisoners and their families." Participating incarcerated artists received financial awards decided by CAP's curatorial committee. CAP focuses on exposing businesses that capitalize on immigration detention and mass incarceration. It was able to get the New York City Council to pass a bill which allowed prisoners to make free calls from jail. This was a first in the nation and at the time, projected to save NYC families nearly $10 million a year. Capitalizing on Justice was reported in such publications as The Guardian and The Nation.
C-Note's submission is titled, Capitalizing on Justice. It was a silver award winner and he received $350. At the time of his submission, he noted, "This piece is part of my broader work on the existential threat of the wide spread use of medication inside of America's prison. In the foreground, there are wholesale boxes, not for retail, of psychotropic medications from pharmaceutical giants like Merck ("Murk"), Pfizer ("Fizer"), and Biogen ("Biojen"). In the background, there is psychiatrist Dr. Freud harassing a nurse while being offered kickbacks from big pharma."
"Capitalizing on Justice" Exhibit Spotlights Works of Incarcerated Artistshttps://www.hypebeast.com/2018/10/capitalizing-on-justice-exhibition-corrections-accountability-project-nyc
What Curators Don't Get About Prison Art | The Nation
Worth Rises - Capitalizing on Justice
Connecting Art and Law for Liberation (CALL) 2019
The Spring of 2019, at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), saw the inauguration of Connecting Art and Law for Liberation (CALL). A three-day festival, of a series of talks, performances, interactive art workshops, film screenings and an exhibition featuring creative work from incarcerated individuals. It was the culmination of a dream, third-year law student, Delaram Kamalpour had a year earlier. "Not everyone is ready to accept that prisoners' rights are human rights, they are people who have hopes and aspirations and are talented and thoughtful," noted Kamalpour. Her hope was to initiate dialogue, by harnessing the work that artists, law advocates and reform activists were already doing. "They are doing this work fiercely, but not always in union, and my hope is that CALL will be an opportunity for us to come together," Kamalpour said. Activist artists included, actor Danny Glover, singer-songwriters Aloe Blacc and Maya Jupiter, hip-hop luminary Chuck D, poet Luis Rodriquez and others.
C-Note donated two works for the fundraising event, Cell Time (2019) and During the Flood (2017). Cell Time, was his first completed acrylic painting on canvas, and was done under the tutelage of artist Jim Dahl of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center. During the Flood was C-Note's response to the 2017 Hurricane Harvey in the United States. Prisons are considered restricted space, meaning no public access, including to reporters. He wanted to tell the story of the prison inmates who were in the prisons that were in the flooded areas. He wrote at the time, "I was hoping to initiate a conversation between state officials who are responsible for the prisoners, and local officials who will be the first responders to secure their safety." During the Flood had unexpectedly became his most disseminated work to date; fueled by the 2017 Category 5 Hurricane Dorian. [1.] California Prison Focus published this work in their No. 53, Fall 2017 edition;  Prison Action News published this work in their Vol. 11.1, February 2018 zine; [3.] The Real Cost of Prisons Project published this work online in their zine, Comix; [4.] Sawari Mi published this work online as a part of her Incarcerated Minds: Mental Health Gallery; [5.] Darealprisonart published this work online as a part of their article, "Hurricane Harvey Told Through the Voice of the Prisoner-Artist." It was published when Category 5 Hurricane Dorian was just a tropical storm; [6.] #Fight Toxic Prisons approached the artist for his permission to use the work during the 2019 hurricane season, and was used during their campaign to evacuate prisons in the path of the Category 5 Hurricane Dorian; [7.] Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons, published this work on their Facebook Page; along with, why the artist in his own words, created the work;  Khalil A. Cumberbatch, the CUNY graduate, nationally recognized criminal justice advocate, and former prisoner, published this work on Instagram during Category 5 Hurricane Dorian, noting, 1-million Floridans were under mandatory evacuation, except prisoners; [9.] Massachusetts Against Solitary Confinement (MASC), published this work on Facebook to bring public awareness to evacuate the prisons in Georgia that were in the path of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian; [10.] Mutual Aid Disaster Relief published this work in their zine, "Prisoners In Disaster: Legacy of abuse, exploitation, and endangerment of prisoners and disaster." While none of these groups, organizations, or individuals, are household names, they are activists, nonetheless, involved in criminal justice reform/mass incarceration, and some on a national scale. He has also received interests from a Columbus College of Art and Design student, for this piece to be a part of her graduate thesis collection.
2) Full text of "Zine Archive" https://archive.org/stream/ZineArchive/225914_Pan_11.1_Print_Version_FINAL_djvu.txt
3.) The Real Cost of Prisons Project https://realcostofprisons.org/comix/hooker/during-the-flood.html
4.) Incarcerated Minds: Mental Health Gallery - Sawari Mi https://sawarimi.org/archives/3166
5.) Hurricane Harvey Told Through the Voice of the Prisoner-Artist | darealprisonart https://darealprisonart.wordpress.com/2019/08/26/hurricane-harvey-told-through-the-voice-of-the-prisoner-artist/
6.) URGENT: #EvacuatePrisons Hurricane Dorian Phone Zap - #FightToxicPrisons https://fighttoxicprisons.wordpress.com/2019/08/29/evacuateflprisons-urgent-hurricane-dorian-phone-zap/
7.) Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons https://www.facebook.com/FightToxicPrisons/posts/2471554193075165
8.) Khalil A. Cumberbatch https://www.instagram.com/p/B1-WOqRBgIm
9.) Massachusetts Against Solitary Confinement (MASC) https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2368601113266852&id=1143030605823915&fs=0&focus_composer=0
Images: 1.) Cell Time (2019); 2.) During the Flood (2017); 3.) CALL's commentary booklet for the public to give commentary on artist's work; 4.) During the Flood published in the February 2018 issue of Prison Action News (PAN); 5.) During the Flood featured in Prisoners In Disaster: Legacy of abuse, explooitation, and endangerment of prisoners and disasters; 6.) Event flyer for Connecting Art and Law for Liberation (CALL); and 7.) Letter from CALL Steering Committee Member, Laura Jones, informing C-Note of Public Commentary Booklet, and his two works sold for $65. The proceeds were donated to Was Incarcerated Productions, founded by Tiffany Johnson, who was formerly incarcerated.
UCLA law student leads call to action for criminal justice reform | UCLA
CALL To Action | UCLA Apr 12-14, 2019
Connecting Art & Law for Liberation Film Screening & Reception in Los Angeles | Eventful
UCLA'S Spring Art Festival, Renewal CALL to End Mass Incarceration. | darealprisonart
ENDING MASS INCARCERATION: A City's Multicultural CALL through Art, the Day after Nipsey Hussle was Lain to Rest.
A CALL to action - California Arts Council - Medium
California Welcomes "REFORM-A-NATION" Campaign to Reverse Wrongful Convictions and UCLA Law School's Call to End Mass Incarceration
Artivist In Action & Solidarity
The Artivists in Action and Solidarity event in December of 2019, emerged from a powerful alliance and special bond between two Bay Area-based print newspapers, the San Francisco Bay View which prints monthly and the California Prison Focus, which prints quarterly. Both publications publish online. Together, these print publications have over a half century of reporting from behind the wall. First locally in California, then nationally over the course of due time. The event was conceptualized within the confines of the prison cell of William E. Brown, aka Min. King X, or Pyeface, as he was known to many on the prisons yards. He is also know as the George Jackson of Rapp, and founded a prison-based anti-hostility group called KAGE - Kings and Queens Against Genocidal Environments. Released in July of 2019, after doing 24 years, six in federal prisons, and 18 in California prisons, the event offered him an opportunity to honor the legacy of SF Bay View publisher and editor, and unsung heroes, Willie and Mary Ratcliff, by presenting the first annual Ratcliff Award to another unsung hero within the community. King developed a special relationship with these publications during his time in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay's infamous Security Housing Unit (SHU). At the event, King used art to shine a light on the hidden atrocities of prison, to advocate for the release of his imprisoned elders, mentors, and loved ones, to support imprisoned artists, and to support the two publications that inspired and empowered him throughout his journey. The proceeds were raised through a silent prisoner art auction. Imprisoned contributors received compensation for their work, while the rest went to the San Francisco Bay View and California Prison Focus.
From prison, C-Note curated many of the works of art that were used in the event. Both men had been at various prisons at the same time, including doing hard time in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU), or the hole, at California's most racist, maximum-security, prison, High Desert, the isolated prison that sits in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, (Investigators Find 'Culture of Racism,' Abuse at High Desert State Prison | KQED
https://www.kqed.org/news/10796983/investigators-find-culture-of-racism-abuse-at-high-desert-state-prison). It was there in 2005, they witnessed the horrors of Hurricane Katrine on a television set, on a wall, far, far, from the prisoners' cells. It was King's loud outrage over the mistreatment of prisoners during the natural disaster, that would leave an indelible mark on C-Note's conscious. In the following decade, when Hurricane Harvey showed up in 2017, C-Note watched news reports of the people being impacted, but not the prisoners. This was the impetus to do the reporting for us in his work, During the Flood. This work saw a renewed interest as a vehicle to convince others to evacuate prisons in the wake of the 2019, Category 5, hurricane, Dorian. In the spring of 2019, while King was still incarcerated, they co-wrote, I Stand2 Vote S.B. 106. I Stand2 Vote is a one act play of two opposing long time activist and politicians arguing the merits of restoring voting rights to the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated. It is set in Sacramento, California, the state's capital, in the state's legislative branch assembly floor.
C-Note would send in his artwork to the California Prison Focus, and his philosophy behind his work, this led to the exchange of letters, between him and Editor in Chief, Kim Pollack. Some of his work had been inspired by the work of Pollack and CPF reporters, such as his two paintoems and play on the subject of women serving a sentence in California of Life Without the Possibility of Parole, LWOP. In early 2018, he donated his Millions for Prisoners Rights march inspired work, Incarceration Nation to the CPF. He was later surprised when they wrote back, it was going to be kept in the office for inspiration. The work C-Note donated for the event was his 2017 work, Eyes Without a Face. One of two paintomes on the subject of women doing LWOP. The work consisted of whiting out the faces with a pastel pencil of an image, of women prisoners sitting and standing around a dominoes table, playing dominoes and watching TV. The image derives from, the television series, Orange Is The New Black. It was published in the entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times. However, his work, Incarceration Nation sold at the event for $125.
On March 10th of 2020, King released the six minute music video, Peace of Pye; A Delegate for CA Prisoners and Advocate to End Mass Incarceration for All. Produced by Pollak, published on YouTube, commentary by C-Note, with footage from the Artivist In Action & Solidarity, it is a mix of still life photos and video. In the first half, King narrates us through his journey in the prison system and the psychological warfare tactics the system uses, to the returning citizen, who takes the lessons learned inside, and uses them to bring positive change to his community, and to society writ large; all the while, never forgetting to honor the dignified individuals he meet inside. The second half concludes with a musical track and lyrics that will have listeners up on their feet, shaking their hips, screaming, "Vote'em Out! Vote'em Out!.....Vote'em Out! Vote'em Out!" It is a part of his strategy of using voter restoration and the power of art as a means to bring the death nails to mass incarceration.
#1, Flyer to the December 2019, Artivists In Action & Solidarity event; #2, C-Note's donated work Eyes Without A Face; #3, C-Note's paintoem, Eyes Without A Face; #4, C-Note's painting, Incarceration Nation; #5, Buyers of C-Note's painting, Incarceration Nation #6, Minster King X's video, Peace of Pyw, A Delegate for CA Prisoners and Advocate to End Mass Incarceration for All
Agnes Gund, Prison Art's $100,000,000 Patron | darealprisonart
The Prisoner Press and the Power to Inspire | darealprisonart
What Financially Minded Blacks Should Know About Art - Artist Social Network
Artivists in Action and Solidarity: Rattle the KAGE Dec. 7, 4-7pm | San Francisco Bay View
Portrait of Rap's George Jackson