Mentorships & Collaborations

Engage us. Below are the profiles and contact information of incarcerated artists and writers who want to hear from you. We are interested in mentorships and collaborations. The goal of this page is to promote a community of artists and educators working together, not only to sharpen our crafts and produce a new category of work — collaborations between the free and the incarcerated — but to form ties that are mutually edifying. Some of us have decades of craft experience to share. Others hope to benefit from the patience and wisdom of another, but even those who are inexperienced in craft have valuable life experience to share. Have you ever wanted to know what it is to be in prison; why people go to prison? We can provide diverse answers. We can also collaborate with you on your projects. For many, collaboration between the free and incarcerated is a poetic experience that enacts a message: The walls around our prisons do not have to be walls around our humanity.

Below, each profile includes an introduction, biography, and artist statement to help you learn about the Prison Renaissance artists. Contact information is included for you to contact artist(s) that are a good fit for you and your projects. We are currently working on a system that will allow you to directly email artists. Should you have questions or want to suggest additional information we might list to help you locate an artistic partnership, please contact us.

Please note: All artist photos are courtesy of Peter Merts.


Emile_DeWeaverEmile DeWeaver

Contact:
#P78987
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Intro: Emile DeWeaver is a 36-year-old writer, musician, and a member of Artistic Ensemble, an abstract movement company. He writes poetry, creative nonfiction, fantasy, and contemporary fiction. For him, citizenship means embracing a role that contributes to a more humane society. He would like to collaborate with other writers and graphic artists.

Bio: Emile DeWeaver is a 2015 Pushcart nominee with creative work in a dozen publications, including The Lascaux Review, Frigg, Punchnel’s, and The Rumpus. You can find his work on his website and by visiting his monthly column “Good Behavior” at Easy Street. He is a co-founder of Prison Renaissance.

Artist’s Statement: I woke up one morning in a cell wanting to change my life and the world that had shaped my life. All I had was my art, so I learned to use that.


Rahsaan Thomas FA Sping 2016Rahsaan Thomas

Contact:
#T99595
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Intro: Rahsaan Thomas is a 45-year-old novelist and journalist. He writes stories inspired by his life. For him, community is a source of inspiration. He says people have opened their arms to him, and that makes him feel forgiven. That forgiveness inspires him to justify his community’s faith in him. He would like to collaborate with another artist to tell fiction and nonfiction stories.

Bio: Rahsaan Thomas grew up in New York City, but he writes from a cell in California. He’s a staff writer for The San Quentin News and the co-author of Uncaged Stories. He’s also been published by The Marshall Project, Missouri Review’s Literature on Lockdown Life of the Law, The Beat Within, and Brothers in Pen‘s 2014 and 2015 anthologies. At age 45, he also became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a co-founder of Prison Renaissance.

Artist’s Statement: I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I saw it in my mind. I put that light on the page, and it saved my life.


los draggingJuan Meza

Contact:
#K72250
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Juan Meza is a 39-year-old poet, Shakespearean actor, and a member of Artistic Ensemble, an abstract movement company. To Juan, community represents hope for a life that matters. He would like an experienced poet and an experienced stage performer as mentors.

Kenny_BrydonKenneth Brydon

Contact:
#B98959
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Kenneth Brydon has written over forty short stories and three novels. His work is published in the anthology Prison Noir, Asylum, and can be found through Brothers in Pen.


Adnan_KhanAdnan Khan

Contact:
#F55145
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Adnan Khan is a 31-year-old writer, songwriter, Shakespearian actor, and a member of Artistic Ensemble (an abstract movement company).  He describes his writing process as a purge. He writes creative nonfiction about being the son of immigrant refugees. For him, community is redemption: “I contributed to the destruction of communities when I was younger, and now I want to contribute to healing and rebuilding communities. He would like to collaborate with writers and poets.

Artist’s Statement: LIVE is the canvas.


Juan HainesJuan Haines

Contact:
#K23760
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Juan Haines is a 58-year-old writer and journalist. He writes contemporary short fiction, and he’s currently working on a humorous novel about an incarcerated journalist. He believes his role as a citizen is to empower others with knowledge about what happens inside prisons. He is proud to be a voice for the voiceless. He would like to collaborate with another artist to tell literary stories.

Artist’s Statement: I find storytelling is the most intimate way of connecting with other people. My favorite quote is by Hippocrates: “Life is short. Art is forever. Opportunity is brief. Experiment is dangerous. Judgement is difficult.”


Draper_Rauch2Ronell Draper

Contact:
#T14113
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Ronell Draper is a 42-year-old writer interested in magical realism, as well as a poet, stage performer, and illustrator. He believes his role as a citizen is to build communities that love the lonely and those who heal the earth. He could like to collaborate with writers and illustrate their stories. He would also like an experienced writer to mentor him.

Artist’s Statement: Transcendence is possible through art.


George Coles-El

Contact:
#T25340
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: George Coles-El is a poet, emcee, and grafitti artist incarcerated in California. His first novel, Triumph, is forthcoming Summer 2017 by Capital Gaines LLC. When Coles isn’t playing Dungeons and Dragons, he mentors kids in juvenile hall through his work with The Beat Within.

Artist’s Statement: I never want to stop learning.


Chris Marshall

Contact:
#T43367
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Chris Marshall is a 48-year-old stage performer and graphic artist. He likes “photorealistic” and “Ukiyo-E” pencil drawings. He believes his role in the community is to be a role-model to his children and grandchildren while practicing his Catholic faith.


Gino Sevacos

Contact:
#K61708
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Gino Sevacos is a 58-year-old singer/songwriter. He believes his role as a citizen is to build communities and connect with others. He would like to collaborate with other artists to produce music.

Artist’s Statement: Art transforms.


Joseph_KrauterJoseph Krauter

Contact:
#G23575
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Joseph Krauter is a 33-year-old writer and visual artist. He writes horror; and his visual mediums are watercolors, colored pencils, and lead pencils. Mr. Krauter has ASD Spectrum Disorder, specifically Asperger’s Syndrome. He is fascinated by color pencil art and water color painting. His passion in visual and written work is in detail, and he’s never found the Devil in them. He would like an experienced writer and a visual artist to mentor him.

Artist’s Statement: I have no technical knowledge, but I want to learn.


Paul_StaufferPaul Stauffer

Contact:
#T80750
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Paul Stauffer is a 58-year-old writer, poet, and graphic artist. His graphic mediums are watercolor and oil painting. He writes about fantastic worlds and his life as a young soldier. He believes his role in community is “to maintain [his] life as an outlet for the God-given creativity instilled in [him].” He would like to mentor another graphic artist. He would also like an experience writer to mentor him.

Artist’s Statement: To create is to live; to destroy is to die.


Eddie Herena

Contact:
#F18009
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Eddie Herena is a 32-year-old novice writer and photographer. He’s interested in learning how to write contemporary short fiction. He would like an experienced writer to mentor him.

Artist’s Statement: Everybody has a story that needs to be shared with their community. That’s how differences are made. I don’t want to be locked in a box, and I don’t want my stories to be trapped in this box with me.


LeMar Harrison

Contact:
#P95057
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: LeMar Harrison is a 39-year-old songwriter and stage performer. He believes his role as a citizen is to educate and create the change he wants to see in the world. He would like an experienced artist to mentor him.

Artist’s Statement: Art changes minds.


James King

Contact:
#V69030
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: James King is a 46-year-old writer. He describes himself as a novice who’s interested in Christian-themed fiction, personal essays, and poetry. He believes community involvement is the root of his rehabilitation. He would like an experienced writer to mentor him.

Artist’s Statement: I want to write for those who feel trapped by their circumstances, so they know that change is possible.


Joseph Krauter

Contact:
#G23575
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Joseph Krauter is a 33-year-old writer and visual artist. He writes horror; and his visual mediums are watercolors, colored pencils, and lead pencils. Mr. Krauter has ASD Spectrum Disorder, specifically Asperger’s Syndrome. He is fascinated by color pencil art and water color painting. His passion in visual and written work is in detail, and he’s never found the Devil in them. He would like an experienced writer and a visual artist to mentor him.

Artist’s Statement: I have no technical knowledge, but I want to learn.


Rich_MorrisRich Morris

Contact:
#D12417
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Rich Morris is a 54-year-old singer/songwriter, Shakespearean actor, and a member of Artistic Ensemble, an abstract movement company. After 40 years of playing guitar and writing songs, he is currently in talks to have one of his songs used in a documentary. He believes his role in his community is to be a contributing citizen. He would like to collaborate with another artist that shares his interests.

Artist’s Statement: Art is medicine to me. When I’m connected to an audience, I pour myself into their hands, and they heal me.


David_TaylorDavid Taylor

Contact:
#K76264
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: David Taylor is  “40-something” and a writer interested in urban fantasy and erotic fiction. He believes his role in communities is to help others. He would like an experienced writer to mentor him.

Artist’s Statement: Thank you for giving me a chance.


IMG_2600James Sackett-Kitas

Contact:
#F13258
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Jim Sackett-Kitas is a 31-year-old graphic artist who specializes in pencil drawings. Growing up up on his family’s horse ranch, Asatru and steampunk interested him as a teenager and both heavily influence his art today. His work is forthcoming at Prison Renaissance. For him, community is rooted in his Asatru tradition: strong families make strong communities. His role in community is to be a better son and brother. He would like to collaborate with another artist.

Artist’s Statement: I lay down patterns, layer by layer, and what comes is what comes. I love the process. It makes me feel like everything is going to be all right.


 

Orlando Smith

Contact:
#P24614
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Orlando Smith has created and composed over 57 graphic novels and comic books. His work has appeared in Heavy Metal, and he’s completed a host of commission work including covers for Omega Comics. He did storyboards for the movie Social Tick and for the upcoming film Charlie Charlie. Before Smith was a graphic novelist, he spent six years as a professional tattoo artist and ten years doing custom art on cars.

When Smith,  a 49-year-old graphic artist with a passion for alternative comics, was asked about the role of community in his  life, he said: “Community has always done more for me than I’ve done for it. I have to change that.” The artist has a lot of experience that he would like to share with other artists, but he’s most interested in finding a mentor to guide him through a career as a graphic artist.

Artist’s Statement: “Life imitates art, and art imitates life.” — Oscar Wilde


Anouthinh Pangthong

Contact:
#K23566
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Anouthin Pangthong is a spoken word artist, a stage actor with Marin Shakespeare, a dancer with Artistic Ensemble, and a junior web developer. His work is published on Medium.


Davontae T. Pariani

Contact:
#AZ2142
San Quentin State Prison
1 Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94974

Bio: Davontae T. Pariani is an incarcerated poet in California.