Founded in 2015 by London-based artist Nicola White, Art Reach is a charity which gives purpose and hope to death row inmates in the US, providing art materials, regular meaningful contact, and the opportunity to exhibit their work here in the UK. To support the valuable work that Nicola is doing to support some of America’s most ostracised citizens, and to recognise the human rights of death row inmates in the US and beyond, we will be dedicating the next few weeks to the artwork and writing of the men she supports at San Quentin Prison, California.
IN-SIGHT: ANTHONY CEDRIC OLIVER (#H-79800)
Anthony said that it took him 12 years to find himself as an artist and find out what his style was. After giving a painting to a friend nine years ago for a birthday gift, he realised that his true gift was a to be a landscape painter. He now paints acrylic landscapes completely from memory. The painting he gave to his friend was entitled “Crystal Lake” and Anthony used to camp there as a teenager. As a landscape painter, Anthony aims to bring scenes to life with his paint.
A friend of his who was also an artist was the initial inspiration that encouraged Anthony to start painting. The friend was a great help, and advised him on the best materials to buy. In his own words:“Honestly I did not envision myself creating anything with my own hands that anyone would even want.”
Anthony’s work, which he calls “Oliver’s Original Expressive Landscapes” is all created from memory. In his mind, he says, “I can see a tree, lake, mountain, a sunrise or sunset and fill in the blanks. I can walk right into the scene in my mind”. When asked if making art has changed him in any way Anthony said:- “Oh yes, since I’ve been painting, these scenes just flow out of me. The brush is just merely an extension of me. I cannot imagine life without art.” He also said “Art is a true means of support. I really want to earn a living doing something that I really love. And believe me, I truly love being an artist.”
Anthony thanks everyone who looks at his artwork: “I really would like to thank you for this rare opportunity, and maybe you’ll see what I have to offer not just as a painter, but as a real person. Maybe one of you will become a true lifelong friend. I would truly enjoy that.”
Be sure to pop along to THE ART OF TRANSFORMATION: Redemption versus Death at the Old Deptford Cinema before the end of April to witness in full effect the many talents of San Quentin’s death row artists.