Making art from San Quentin's Death Row

May 16, 2018

 

About 750 incarcerated people have been sentenced to death in California. One of them is William Noguera. He’s a Colombian-American who grew up in a suburb of L.A, and he’s spent nearly 30 years on San Quentin’s Death Row after murdering his girlfriend’s mother when he was a teenager.

 

He’s grown up in prison. That’s where he discovered his passion for art. And over the last three decades he has become an accomplished painter and shown his work in galleries around the world.

 

This year, Seven Stories Press published his memoir: Escape Artist: Memoir of a Visionary Artist on Death Row.

 

 

Cover art by William A. Noguera.
Credit Photo: Melissa Ysais / Courtesy of The William A. Noguera Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

KALW’s Ben Trefny reached William Noguera by phone on Death Row to talk about his life, his crimes, and his art.

 

"I came to art out of a need . . . to me, art has never been about pretty pictures. There had to be something to be said, or else it's as irrelevant as wallpaper."

Click the audio player above to listen to the full story.