No longer the product of my crime (but of my creativity)

Finding creativity in the brutality and apathy of the prison system.

The artist behind Steeldoorstudios is from Manchester (United Kingdom) and has been incarcerated for a large part of his life. He is approaching his 54th birthday. He is incarcerated near Oxford in the South of England for a life sentence. “Realistically, I stand a good chance of being released within the next couple of years though, of course, this is dependent on the parole process and the amount of progress I’ve made”, he says. He describes art as his one constant companion during his long years of confinement.

He has accepted to share with us and comment about two of his paintings. His words expose the challenges of the creative process in prison.

All paintings are copyright Steeldoorstudios, 2020.

Being encased within steel and mortar shouldn’t and mustn’t be allowed to alter the fundamental essence of a human being. I, like many others amid the brutality and apathy of the prison system, have either retained or found the ability to be creative.

I’ve drawn endless images of myself drawing myself, it speaks highly of the monotony endured within prison. Cell in Cell (Green Dreams) illustrates my immediate environment but also the fantasy of my eventual freedom.

I am no longer the product of my crime but of my creativity. I survived the past; I am thankful for the present and I now have a much brighter future.