Throughout 2020, the coronavirus ravaged San Quentin State Prison, resulting in the deaths of 28 residents. Hearing misinformation on corporate news outlets and from prison officials, I had to pivot from the comfort and pleasure of comic book creation to expose, through illustrated journalism, the blatant lies, injustice and human rights abuses.
I have no grand illusions that my art will create a revolution, but I hope it will transform a person’s thoughts and perception to a more balanced narrative.
— An excerpt from O. Smith’s artist statement, August 2022. It has been slightly edited for clarity.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.