Skip to content


In 2023, we featured 6 incarcerated artists and showcased the work of dozens more during our in-person ART Gallery event. We were joined by community organizers, members, and the friends and families of the artists. Together we heard their stories of Abolition, Resistance, and Transformation. See Gerry, TOAST, Richard, Anh, Harold, and Paul’s artwork below and read what inspired them to create these pieces.

Watch the recording of the live event, here!

Top Ramen Out the Pack by Gerry “Aone” Phongboupha

Top Ramen Out the Pack by Gerry “Aone” Phongboupha was created while Gerry was in solitary confinement and relying on Ramen soups to survive. He shares with us that “When somebody looks at my artwork, I want people to see how we eat Ramen soups while in the hole and feel the struggle. Abolition, Resistance, Transformation to me means change, and an inspiration to uplift, along with fighting for something positive.” Gerry was 25 when he was incarcerated.

Graffiti Sweety by TOAST

Graffiti Sweety by TOAST was the first social or political statement art piece created by the artist. He describes his artwork as having a quirky style because “I do not like to draw stuff that is dark and emotional. I have those feelings, but my art is bright and in your face, and a little bit quirky, and that is me. I just want people to feel whatever they feel. I’m happy with that. As long as they feel something.” This piece was created in the California Institution for Men.

Freedom by Richard D. Cox

Freedom by Richard D. Cox was created to “show that the beauty of making the right choices leads to beautiful scenes of Freedom. Life is just but a blink of seconds that pass, but our memory captures views that are forever ingrained in our hearts. When somebody sees my painting, I want them to make plans for the weekend and to go to the beach and dig their toes in the sand.” Richard was 19 when he was incarcerated. He is celebrating his 37th birthday this month and was sentenced to 25 years to life.

Dream by Anh Nguyen

Dream by Anh Nguyen, was created because “Growing up, this was a scene that was all too familiar for me. Which has turned into a Dream of one day getting to experience once again. The inspiration of this painting came about last year when I was reminiscing about my childhood in Vietnam and the fond memories of freedom.” Anh was tried as an adult and was sentenced to 40 years to life.

Regal’s Color by Harold T.M. Smith III

Regal’s Color, by Harold T.M. III, was created in 2022. Harold says he started art as a way to “Try to turn my negatives into positives. In this painting I used color schemes to make the woman stand out and every color compliments something. And I hope it makes your eyes feel the love and my appreciation for color being so Regal.” Harold was sentenced to 2 life terms. 

Extract from Pain by Paul Ahumada

Extract from Pain by Paul Ahumada was created to “demonstrate the unique side of two emotions. On one hand, the cuffs demonstrate the physical element of confinement, which results in heartache. But, beyond the pain I found purpose. My purpose is family. As a husband, father, son, sibling, and friend, the thought of them ultimately gave me a why and the passage to recognize love. Love is then the result of the other emotion which I, the artist, attempted to display.” Paul was sentenced to 51 years.

How can I support Initiate Justice and the artists?

Buy an Item!

Through our Facebook and Instagram shop you can purchase tshirts, prints, and original pieces! All proceeds directly support Initiate Justice and the artists.


By donating to Initiate Justice, you are directly supporting projects like The ART Gallery!


Simply sharing the work we do helps us reach more people and introduce them to a world without incarceration!

Check out @InitiateJustice work of ending incarceration in California and their ART Gallery where they featured 6 incarcerated artists! 🎨