From a small cell, I witnessed the country being brought to standstill. Like a slow-moving train wreck, the COVID-19 virus spread, infections and deaths increasing daily. In an attempt to slow the spread of contagion and save lives, guidelines were provided and a stay-at-home order given. Across a divided nation, people clashed, lies were told as medical personnel pleaded. Once inside the walls of San Quentin, the virus ravaged the population. In overcrowded prisons, social distancing is impossible. Every day, alarms repeatedly sounded off as COVID-19 swept through the prison. Not all of us here have been sentenced to death, but the virus changed that. More than two-thirds of the population, including myself, became infected. Fear, anger, uncertainty and a sense of abandonment hung in the air like a fog. I lost a friend to this virus, while some people beyond the walls bemoaned the restrictions and guidelines meant to keep them safe.
Thus, the image of this piece took form.
Mole ruit sua: It collapses from its own bigness.
About the Artist
Back in the early 1970s, in the midst of a New York winter, pneumonia almost killed me. I was just four or five years old. My mother carried me through the snow in the middle of the night to the hospital. For the next few days, I “floated” somewhere between here and there.
After my fever broke, I found the pencils, paper, crayons and comic books my mother brought me. That was the beginning of my creating artwork. It was a world without limits. My artwork has changed and expanded over the years to include different mediums and content. Art, for me, is a way to give shape to some of those things that words fall short for. The process of creating is soothing for me. It centers me and allows me to express various aspects of myself. To give something form through art is life in expression.