Corey Devon Arthur

Artist Statement

The world as it was shown to me has never been enough. This has always frustrated me. One day while I was in kindergarten, I picked up a broken, dirty, black crayon and began to redraw the world the way I saw and felt it in my heart.

I chose the broken, dirty, black crayon, because it reminded me of how I saw myself. I chose it because it looked like me. It was the one that nobody wanted to use. 

Since then I have learned to use every conceivable tool that makes and holds a mark. Growing up in the hood, I never saw anything as trash. Broken things and other folks' garbage was my treasure. Later, upon incarceration, I found a way to sketch despite the scarcity of art supplies. I found my voice while locked in solitary confinement using a three-inch rubber pen and scraps of paper, if I was blessed.

My influences were graffiti artists I saw in Brooklyn throwing up their pieces on the trains and walls. These are my folks, the bottom people. Down here we make our heroes. I was immediately drawn to the prospect of marking something that would show the world what beauty could come from a dirty broken black crayon. I remember the first time I wrote my name on the wall of the boys’ bathroom in kindergarten. I saw more of my authentic self in my five-year-old scrawl than I had ever seen of myself depicted anywhere on earth.

Recently I created a collection of five paintings titled "Blood In Eye," inspired by the late Comrade George L. Jackson’s book Blood In My Eye. Since age 13, I evolved from a criminal, to an animalized prisoner, to a revolutionary, and now into a feminist. I noticed the ledge where they assassinated George. It stopped the movement. His legacy compelled me to take the evolutionary next step. 

As an artist, this was the ideal opportunity to use my talents to study our bloodline of resistance. I painted Lolita Lebron, Kathy Boudine, Angela Davis, and Assata Shakur with blood in their eyes. I also put a red rose in their hair. The system said they were broken; I saw them as beautiful. They fought for me. Now it's my turn to keep it lit, and pay my respects to them. The world didn't give them enough respect. So I created a way to use my art to throw it up for my sheroes.

Artist Bio

Corey Devon Arthur is an incarcerated writer and artist. His writing has been published in venues including the Marshall Project and Writing Class Radio. In March of 2023, he exhibited his art show, She Told Me Save The Flower, at My Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.

You can check out more of his work on Instagram and Medium.

Contact Information

Corey Devon Arthur (#98A7146)

Otisville C.F. P.O. Box 8

Otisville, NY 10963

Artwork Detail: Manifesto, C.K. Gerhartsreiter AKA TAFKA Clark Rockefeller, 2022