An original art show
Luis Anthony Rivera, 58, serving a life sentence for no good reason, is remarkably accomplished for an invisible man.
Violinist. Painter. Multi-lingual. Nature lover. Computer programmer. Video artist.
And that’s just what he’s done since entering federal prison in 1985.
Luis is a smart, gentle soul, the type of person who makes others prosper. He was born with spirit and spunk, love and joy — plus a creative impulse tethered to a galloping work ethic.
For a moment, let’s be narcissistic. Let’s think only of ourselves. Let’s reflect on the economic value stolen from us — from free society, from gross domestic product — by prohibiting an entrepreneurial young man from being economically productive.
What would Luis be giving us today if free? Might he own a carpet cleaning company, teach history at a community college or fly stunt planes at air shows?
Stretch your imagination further.
What would Luis have given us over the last three decades — in 1995 and 2005 and in 2015 — if we had not spent $1.2 million (tab still running) to rob ourselves of his remarkable productivity?
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Luis was the subject of one our most popular articles: “What a man saw in prison today.” As readers of that story know, he hasn’t let his unjust sentence break his spirit.
“A friend once asked me,” Luis says, “if I got out, would I have trouble adjusting to being free? I replied, ‘No, because I never adjusted to being incarcerated.'”
“Luis was a kid when he went to prison. He didn’t know the talents he had,” says Joan Killingsworth, 78, a former neighbor and “second mom” who visits Luis at FCI Coleman, near Orlando, Fla. where he is one of 2,127 prisoners.
Free men and women can’t hear Luis play music on the violin. We can’t listen to him tell stories in English, Spanish or French. We can’t ask for his help writing programs in Linux or Unix or editing a video.
But we can enjoy Luis’ most recent passion: painting.
Luis hasn’t been doing it that long. He’s teaching himself. When he was recently transferred between prisons, he had to leave much of his equipment behind along with many favorite works.
But if that doesn’t get Luis’ down, we won’t let it bother us either. So…
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We are very excited to present emerging artist Luis Anthony Rivera in his first gallery show.
Unfortunately, Luis couldn’t make it here personally. But he very much appreciates you coming to his exhibit, “Invisible, No More.”
Luis works mostly with oil on canvas. But he also does wonderful portraits in pencil. And it’s our good fortune to have photographs of photographs of his art.
The artist wants you to know that because of limitations on his travel, he had to work mostly from photographs and the paintings of others.
Now, please, help yourself to wine and cheese. And click on the paintings for a better look!
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Oddly, Luis has never done a self portrait. Here is the artist with Joan Killingsworth and her daughter Debbie in 2009. We call this work…
Artist in need of clemency
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence,
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall
— Robert Frost, Mending Wall