“If you’ve been following updates this week, you know that I’m in Sacramento for Wide Open Walls. The crew and I just completed my 15-story Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison mural, which is my largest in the state of California and my most technically ambitious mural ever. The art is based on a photo by Jim Marshall which I used originally as part of my American Civics series. I’m grateful to be able to create this image on such a large scale as a tribute for the 50th anniversary of Cash’s Live at Folsom Prison album, and I hope that this art will ignite a conversation around the need for incarceration reform. According to a recent in-depth study by the Prison Policy Initiative, America has the highest incarceration rate in the world with a shocking 2.3 million people currently imprisoned.
On top of that, our prisons are disproportionately filled with poor people of color, in fact, African Americans are 13% of the U.S. population, yet 40% of the prison population in this country. More African American men are under correctional control today than there were slaves in the 1850s according to a Huffington Post piece by writer and civil rights advocate Michelle Alexander.
A portion of proceeds from the Johnny Cash print I made, currently available through Toy Room Gallery, will benefit #Cut50. Thank you to Wide Open Walls, Branded Arts, and my crew of assistants, Dan Flores, Nic Bowers, Rob Zagula, and Luka Densmore for the 11-hour days we worked this week in the intense heat to get this mural finished! Thank you Jon Furlong for the photo!” – Shepard Fairey