My name is Donald Alan Simpson Jr. I was born on 1/22/1977 and as of 2019, I am 42 years old and currently reside in a California correctional facility. I have no favorite art genre or medium; my art comes first from me drawing something that gets my attention or has the potential to challenge me. Also, at times in my mind I see something lingering there, I draw it and then think “I wonder what this drawing would look like if I painted it”, and that’s what drives me to create a piece of art.
These moments tend to always come when I’m in stressful situations, like when I feel overwhelmed with my college and rehabilitation work or a family situation. While in these “situations” I just go to a creative place in my mind blocking out the stressful obstacles, and then I begin to formulate an idea of what I want to draw and then paint.
I’m usually painting something for someone like a family member or friend, so I try to always think about how they can be touched by something that I’ve created, and how I can possibly put a smile on someone’s face, or uplift their spirits in some way. For me it’s always about being of service to others.
I got started learning how to paint through a program that the (C.D.C.R.) California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation implemented in prison called “Arts and Corrections”, which allowed the California Arts Council, specifically the Muckenthaler Cultural Center artist Jim Dahl to come in here and teach a bunch of convicted felons how to paint. This program changed my life and allowed me to see the art of painting as something that is beautiful. Before I couldn’t see beauty in a painting.
I believe art matters because without it you’ll never get to see the different perspectives of art that this world has to offer. Art opens us up to different cultures, and has the potential to change many things, and outcomes in one’s life; it did for me and it can for you. You just have to open up your mind’s eye and then think outside the box and let your artistic expression fly. For me that gives me the freedom I so desire while locked away in my cell. Art is what you make it!
Donald Simpson #AZ7590
P.O. Box 2199
Blythe, CA 92226