Artist George, 75

George, 75

Incarcerated: 21 years

In 1969, I was housed in Soledad Prison working as an electrician. One dismal work day, a co-worker and I had just about completed servicing our work orders. Taking advantage of our down time, my co-worker produced a hit of window pane acid. I’d been around drugs most of my life, but had never tried acid.  We headed to my third tier cell, and having divided the sheet of acid, we stepped out on the tier, waiting for the drug to kick in, not knowing what to expect. We noticed there was a commotion brewing on the second tier across from us. There was a new officer  panicking and not knowing what to do. He ran to the front desk seeking help. There was a Mexican dude hanging from his cell’s vent still kicking. A small crowd had formed and saw that he was dead or dying. A few went into his cell and removed his belongings, clothing, shoes, canteen and family photos- I couldn’t understand why the photos. I guess my sorrow over shadowed my acid high because this was the first suicide I had to witness. To add more misery to that day, there was an incident which set off an alarm. Two guys were racing across the yard, one with a knife or shank in his back, and the other chasing him, attempting to retrieve his knife. After the incident, I decided it was time to turn my tools in and lock myself in my cell for we had our own individual key to our cell. Both incidents have stayed locked in my mind for 50 plus years. Today at 76, I have seen enough darkness. I know this darkness can only be dissipated by the light of truth and love. Art description: The bodysuit was a concept I saw almost fifty years ago. Faces: I gain inspiration from other artists and events that I use as a theme. This one involves human nature and the conflicts we experience, such as the anguish we endure after receiving a lengthy denial from the parole board. My father was an artist who worked with oil, and although I’ve worked using all mediums, I prefer pastels. I try to support the programs our facilitator Carol Newborg comes up with because they’re always a challenge. I thank you for the certificate of recognition, it was indeed a pleasure to put something together for your program. Both of George’s paintings will be for sale, look 👀out for our auction and please stop by our office to see them in person!


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