Loneliness - Collaboration for animation. Poem by Ronald Clark - Florida Death Row Inmate. Animation by David Pierce.


t is well-known that some of the most important, historical literary accomplishments have been produced whilst their authors were incarcerated or involuntarily exiled. Marco Polo, Dante, Martin Luther, the Marquis de Sade, Napoleon, Dostoyevsky and Adolf Hitler all created their most notable (or, alternatively, notorious) works behind bars real or imaginary. This powerful impulse to create has not diminished in the contemporary consciousness, as prisoners find new methods of expressing opinions, stories and impossible desires through technological channels. Brooklyn-based artist David Pierce inhabits a curious role oscillating between investigative journalist and fine artist with an ambitious new project entitled Between the Bars.

Drawing on his experiences as a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker, Pierce selects correspondences written by Ronald Clark Jr. and Floyd Smith. Clark is on death row in Raiford, FL and Smith is on death row in San Quentin, CA.

These deeply personal artifacts are transformed into aesthetic objects. Pierce transcribes these testimonials onto canvases and animated screens, highlighting the inherent beauty residing in the written word (regardless of its origin). The content of the prisoners' material is not revised or edited in any way. Poignancy and quiet strength are gently drawn out of a rejected, highly misunderstood sector of society. In the darkest and most isolated hours, human beings seek clarity and/or validation; that gesture can be captured as visual art, rendered through the crucible of contemporary painting and video.


Epitome of Punishment. Written and performed by Floyd Smith. Recorded love from San Quentin, CA death row, 2014.


Floyd Smith

I 'm a pugilist by nature so most people call me SUGAR RAY, I love to sing and write songs, so others call me Sniper, like a hit maker. My passion is positive youth development and my pet peeve is Sexual orientation discrimination. I wish I could singlehandedly eradicate all forms of discrimination, you feel me? I'm new to the Blog life, so yall stay at me, and check out the content of my post, let me know I'm not alone this world by sending me an email and also check me out on our new social network sites. Hope I did this intro thing right, never done this before, have no idea of what I'm LOL. There are two types of death row inmates: those waiting to die, and those writing to live. I still XZYZST (EXIST). bio from betweenthebars.org

Ronald W. Clark Jr.

G reetings, from Florida's Death Row. Let me introduce myself and tell you what I'm about. My full name is Ronald Wayne Clark Jr. I was born on April 20, 1968 in Jacksonville FL. I'm 6'4" 230 lbs blue eyes, brown hair, divorced with no children. The only family I have out there is my mother who lives in Oklahoma. I've been incarcerated since February 7, 1990. I'm confined to a 9x7... 63 square foot cage. Most of my time is spent reading, writing, drawing and exercising. I also spend a lot of time writing and speaking out on prison abuse. Which I'm looking to set up a primary blog to do that with at some point. I had a blog going, but there was creative differences. I only have a 9th grade education... my writing skills developed over the past two decades in this cage.
bio from betweenthebars.org