erick maciel’s canvas tells a story of redemption
“I found that I could draw when I was in the seventh grade,” said incarcerated artist Erick Maciel. “I was able to draw portraits.”
He never took any lessons or read any books; he just drew whenever he saw something he liked in pictures and magazines. He came to prison about five years ago, sentenced to 25 years to life, and through his art found the strength to keep moving forward.
In the back of his mind, he decided he was go ing to do the near-impossible, reform himself by pursuing all the self-help groups available for his rehabilitation.
This inspired his creation of The Phoenix, representing incarcerated people. Even behind bars, he believes prisoners can still live a life of redemption. He hopes his painting can inspire others to rise above.
“We can’t let our past dictate who we are today,” said Maciel. “I created The Phoenix to have a fire glow in its face to demonstrate determination. Nothing can stop him.”
The gray background represents the colorless existence of imprisonment, the ashes of the past that his firebird arises from in its search for freedom and the redemption of tomorrow.
Maciel believes that redemption is possible. Because through hard work and perseverance, a person can always change his heart and way of thinking.
Maciel’s hands are full. Besides art, he is enrolled in community college correspondence courses and is working on an associate degree in sociology.
Most of all, his art is an offering to others, a way to share something of himself.
“I am doing artwork to create positive feelings for the people who see it,” he said.