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Looking Within II

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Works by Astro De Leon, Bryan Bull, Brett Tomas Gonzales, Carl Masters, David Kruse, Dexter Yazzie, Epifanio Rodriguez, Jason Scott Becktold, J. Elliott, James Sparkman, Larry Nathaniel, Mike Doerr, Manuel Perez III, Marquis Streaty, Preston Brushard, Richard J. Baxter, Ron McNair, Renau Mondragon, Ralph Shepherd, Ray Skeet, Robert Ybarra, Troy Webb, Will Smith, W. Velazquez, and Zach Freeman


1. Bryan Bull: Super Mario Bros

Exhibition Statement:

Artist Bio: Navajo Nation


2. Brett Tomas Gonzales: Discarded Toy

Exhibition Statement: Art sometimes allows me to create different realities, to try them on and see if they fit.

Artist Bio: Tomas is a visual artist who developed his skills while incarcerated. Even behind bars, he stretches his own canvas and uses found materials with great significance to him and his fellow inmates.


3. Claude Kirk: Red Root

Exhibition Statement: Charcoal and Conte’ pencils, Koh-I-Noor pencils, Slicci pen. This piece was inspired by a photo of a lone tree in the Namibian desert. Africa being the cradle of humankind, I wanted to represent that we all share the same blood regardless of race, the blood Red Root.

Artist Bio: Claude Kelley Kirk is a 55-year-old artist at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Kelley started his journey of self-discovery as an artist three years ago and is currently working with a variety of media in single-media and mixed-media pieces. Being a newcomer, Kelley is just starting to develop his own direction and style and is planning a future in mix-media abstractions. He is currently studying various abstract artists and doing his own studies in using color pencil, a medium not common to abstract art.


4. Claude Kirk: Dark Desert

Exhibition Statement:

The desert may seem monochrome briefly, but it is full of colors. I did this piece as a night scene so I could emphasize the variety in an unusual, somewhat surreal way. The mix-media is black Lyra watercolor on Handbook sanded paper with color pencils by Kah-I-Noor Polycolor, Derwent Drawing, Studio, and Graphitint, Lyra Rembrandt, Prismacolor Premier, and Faber-Castell Studio pastels.

Artist Bio: Claude Kelley Kirk is a 55-year-old artist at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Kelley started his journey of self-discovery as an artist three years ago and is currently working with a variety of media in single-media and mixed-media pieces. Being a newcomer, Kelley is just starting to develop his own direction and style and is planning a future in mix-media abstractions. He is currently studying various abstract artists and doing his own studies in using color pencil, a medium not common to abstract art.


5. Carl Masters: Artist with His Daughter

Exhibition Statement: This is a watercolor image of a scene from my life, bringing my daughter to the sunflower fields of Kansas. This effect was achieved using ink as a base layer for the black as the original photo had high contrast. Then used watercolor to wash in the various colors.

Artist Bio: I began drawing at age three and never really stopped. I’ve been doing portraits very often for the last five years. I am trying to expand my horizons as an artist during this sentence.


6. Carl Masters: Bijutsu no Chikara

Exhibition Statement: This is a bit of a college layering texture and style to create an interesting composition.

Artist Bio: I began drawing at age three and never really stopped. I’ve been doing portraits very often for the last five years. I am trying to expand my horizons as an artist during this sentence.


7. David Kruse: “Chicago Fire”

Exhibition Statement: Inspired by Geoffrey Johnson, using water base. Painting is the creation of the artist David Kruse.

Artist Bio: Man of age and gallery acclaim with a lighthearted personality.


8. David Kruse: “Indian Woman”

Exhibition Statement: “Indian Woman” drawn by David Kruse 2022, on Strathmore Bristol Vellum 100lb paper, using Tyra graphite pencil.

Artist Bio: Man of age and gallery acclaim, a professional artist with a lighthearted personality


9. Dexter Yazzie: Missing & Murdered Indianious Movement

Artist Bio: Navajo Nation Tribal Member.


10. Dexter Yazzie: Native American Church

Exhibition Statement: Anhinga waterbirds with peyote medicine.

Artist Bio: Navajo Nation Tribal Member.


11. Epifanio Rodriguez: Angel


12. Jason Scott Becktold: “Bike Reflections”

Exhibition Statement: Art provides me with an escape from the confines of prison. When working on a piece, my mind and spirit leave the confines of the prison walls. I’m happiest as an artist when I’m able to invoke a strong, positive response from the viewer. Creating art has helped improve my self-confidence and has given me hope in a place where hope is hard to come by.

Artist Bio: Born in Oklahoma, J. Scott Becktold became interested in art as soon as he was old enough to hold a comic book. He never pursued art until his incarceration in 2014, where he learned to use grids and other techniques, and a new world of possibilities revealed itself to him. He has won first place in several art competitions and has had his art displayed in the Arts Fort Worth gallery.


13. Jason Scott Becktold: “Morning Row”

Exhibition Statement: I wanted to show a wide landscape reflecting the morning sunlight hitting the water and background buildings while a couple are gently being rowed across the water.

Artist Bio: Born in Oklahoma, J. Scott Becktold became interested in art as soon as he was old enough to hold a comic book. He never pursued art until his incarceration in 2014, where he learned to use grids and other techniques, and a new world of possibilities revealed itself to him. He has won first place in several art competitions and has had his art displayed in the Arts Fort Worth gallery.


14. J. Elliott: Window Pain

Exhibition Statement: This is a man who is suffering a great deal. Looking outward from the darkness.

Artist Bio: I have been involved in many forms of multi-media throughout my life.


15. J. Elliott: Zerox Nine (0X9)

Exhibition Statement: This is a modified Zelda (Wild Waker) Theme, in a stained-glass format.

Artist Bio: I have been involved in many forms of multi-media throughout my life.


16. James Sparkman: Symphony of Sound (Banjo)

Exhibition Statement: James creates musical instruments using upcycled materials such as drink cartons, snack boxes, pencils, coat hangers, and sewing strings. All his instruments are fully functional.

Artist Bio: I have been playing since the age of three (almost 80 years). I am the son of two musicians. In addition to playing and teaching music, I also enjoy making my own instruments.


17. James Sparkman: Symphony of Sound (Mandolin)

Exhibition Statement: The mandolin is made of soda drink cartons, scraps of wood, leather, plastic, and string.

Artist Bio: A Texan all the way, raised around Waco, moved to Dallas in 1965. I have been playing stringed instrument since I was four years old. I now teach music theory and guitar for the recreation department.


18. Larry Nathaniel: Culture Back Home 3

Exhibition Statement: I’ve been all over, like saying I was a railroad worker. So, I’ve seen lots of people, Native people.

Artist Bio: I Larry Nathaniel from Shiprock, N.M. I’ve been drawing ever since I came here. This place really turns me around. Got to my senses.


19. Larry Nathaniel: Culture Back Home 5

Exhibition Statement: I’ve been all over, like saying I was a railroad worker. So, I’ve seen lots of people, Native people.

Artist Bio I Larry Nathaniel from Shiprock, N.M. I’ve been drawing ever since I came here. This place really turns me around. Got to my senses.


20. Mike Doerr: Dragon’s Pearl

Exhibition Statement: Graphite and colored pencils. Study in shading.


21. Mike Doerr: Eyes

Exhibition Statement: Graphite and colored pencils. Study in shading.


22. Manuel Perez III: Savage

Exhibition Statement: I wanted to do something different, so I made my own old school scroll like done back in the Edo and other eras when art was done uniquely in Spain.

Artist Bio: I love Japanese art and its culture.


23. Manuel Perez III: I AM SENT FROM HELL

Exhibition Statement: I love to draw dark creatures with dark quotes that make the art pop a lot especially when it comes to anime and metal music collabs.

Artist Bio: I do custom artwork to collab work. It’s my certain style that makes things unique.


24. Marquis Streaty: Chun Li

Exhibition Statement: Street Fighter’s Chun Li


25. Preston Brushard: Portrait of Daughter

Exhibition Statement: This piece is a gift for my ex-wife on her birthday. It is of our daughter on her prom day.

Artist Bio: Preston Bushard grew up in Montana and developed his interest in art later in life and is self-taught. His focus is on portraiture with colored pencil, and he strives to make each piece look reminiscent of an oil painting.


26. Preston Brushard: Lost in the Sound of Music

Exhibition Statement: I always find inspiration in pictures that show people “lost” in their work or art form. The expression on her face appears to me that she is in pure creative mode and everything else has become lost to her. Lost in the moment of pure creativity. When creating art, I fall into this experience quite often and can appreciate what it means to the individual lost.

Artist Bio: Preston Bushard is a self-taught artist and has been producing art for over 10 years. He discovered his artistic expression while in prison, selling portraits of individuals’ families all the while learning more creative ways to express himself.


27. Richard J. Baxter: Royal Enfield

Exhibition Statement: Liberation of concepts that defy linguistic form. Exploration of the old, and the new. Redefine and refine oneself through visual expression.

Artist Bio: Born November 19th, Olympia Washington. Re-engaged with the visual arts after being incarcerated.


28. Ron McNair: “My Tribal Wolf” 1 & 2

Exhibition Statement: I love the wolf; it is my totem animal. This piece of art was created and inspired by multiple sources. The design is in no order and entirely freehand. My medium used is watercolor with colored pencil.

Artist Bio: I do art for fun. I don’t expect to be call “good” I’ve done art all my life. I guess it’s just a hobby thing.


29. Renau Mondragon: Face of Death

Exhibition Statement: Everything is done with pencil. No color pencil, no charcoal.

Artist Bio: When I was younger, I had a true passion for creativity; especially drawing and art. I took an art class when I was in the 6th grade and after that year, I never picked up a pencil to draw again. Unfortunately, I spent more time pursuing other things in life that ended up bringing me to prison. Now, that I have nothing but time, I have rediscovered my love and passion again for art.


30. Ralph Shepherd: Wilbor (Lefty) Coffey Runs from Posse

Exhibition Statement: Running away

Artist Bio: Ralph Shepherd is a self-taught artist who began drawing in a holding cell in 2017. “It takes my mind out of prison and into places I love and miss.”


31. Ray Skeet: Spider Woman

Exhibition Statement: Spider Woman is from the Dine’ Culture who taught us how to weave to the women of the Dine’ Tribe. Dine’ women often wove intricate patterns and designs with the wool from the sheep they sheer. The wool is spun to string like strands and colored (dyed) with mostly plants from the surrounding area.

Artist Bio: IAIA Alumni from Santa Fe, New Mexico and NAU, Flagstaff, AZ.~1984 and 1987. Coconino Center for the Arts, ~1988, Navajo Show ~ 1990-2010. Heard Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ ~ 2010, ASU ~ 20 12. I’ve been an artist off and on for the last 50 years. My medias are acrylics, watercolors, CGI’s, mixed media, ceramics, photography.


32. Robert Ybarra: Sugu’s Character Leafa in Sword Art Online: Fairy Dance

Exhibition Statement: I just felt like drawing an anime character. This was the first one that came to mind. Also, it helps to pass the time here by drawing. It gives me inspiration to draw more.

Artist Bio: This artist has been drawing for a little while. He learned how to draw from his dad. Robert Ybarra was born in Fresno California and has been drawing here and there as a kid. Then stop for a while and started picking it back up the last few years. His drawings are going well.


33. Troy Webb: Luigi Wallet & Mato Knit

Exhibition Statement: I am just getting into this journey of tooling and painting. I enjoy taking my time on everything. I am finished with and still working on.

Artist Bio: I enjoy taking the time to share my artistic abilities.


34. Will Smith: Little Brick House

Exhibition Statement: Art has sustained me during this trying period of incarceration. I am so appreciative that I have the Opportunity express myself through my art. Thank you for looking at my paintings.

Artist Bio: Will Smith enjoys the mediums of watercolor, oil pastel, and chalk art. He has been seriously working on finding his footing as an artist for the last four years.


35. Will Smith: Sunset

Exhibition Statement: The lord giveth, the BOP taketh away, art taketh back.

Artist Bio: Will is a native Texan who works in oils, watercolors, acrylics, and leather.


36. W. Velazquez: “Work in Progress” Leather, tooled Wallet

Exhibition Statement: “Work in Progress” represents my struggles in life, it is intentionally distressed because that’s how I felt now of inspiration.

Artist Bio: Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Fifteen years of military service, loves fishing, sky diving, scuba, bowling and I learned leatherwork while incarcerated.


37. W. Velazquez: “An Inmate’s Mind”

Exhibition Statement: As a combat veteran, our motto was “GOD, Country and Self.” So, the vines represent the struggles, the gold represents the walls that surrounds me, and the landscape represents the freedom of my creative self.

Artist Bio: Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Fifteen years of military service, loves fishing, sky diving, scuba, bowling and I learned leatherwork while incarcerated.


38. Zach Freeman: Death’s Day Off

Exhibition Statement: Death has decided to let the world burn for a while as she goes to the skate park.

Artist Bio: Freeman used to do design and illustration in his other life. Now he paints because it’s a safe way to make one sided argument.


39. Zach Freeman: Slave Ship

Exhibition Statement: What would the personification of an inanimate object do if it was asked to participate in something terrible? The spirit of the slave ship decided to catch the bones of the ancestors so at least he knows where they fell on the floor of the ocean during the middle passage.

Artist Bio: Freeman used to do design and illustration in his other life. Now he paints because it’s a safe way to make one sided argument.


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