Rejon Taylor

Rejon Taylor is an artist/writer who has spent more than half his life living in solitary confinement on Death Row in a federal prison in Terre Haute, IN. His resilient spirit and commitment to truth and justice brings light to the darkest of circumstances.

Juniper Art Gallery is pleased to represent Rejon's artwork and to share it with the world.  His artwork and writing express deep sensibilities and the life-sustaining powers of creativity. Juniper Art Gallery supports ending the barbaric practice of solitary confinement and the death sentence.

Read an article from the March 2024 issue of the Limestone Post about Rejon.

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The Studio:
A concrete cell. A solid steel door painted a muted grey-blue. A thin mattress on a metal bedframe. A window offering no view, its frosted over plexiglass a barrier between me and the natural world. Overhead fluorescent lights, cold and bright, reflect off a glossy white wall. I'm alone in solitary confinement on federal death row, locked in a maximum-security cell the size of a parking space. This cell doubles as my art studio, where I explore my humanity and feel qualities of life too subtle to capture in words.

The Process:
I set out my acrylic paints. I gravitate toward earth tones, a tribute to the natural world from which I've been banished, my feet deprived of soil and grass the last two decades. I prop up a white canvas against the wall. I texture it with pieces of death row, with sand from sandbags, sawdust used for spills, tissue and typing paper, pieces of stucco peeled from a concrete wall at rec. I ground the canvas using art supplies purchased from, with acrylic gels and mediums, crackling and fibrous paste, which the prison charges an additional 30% markup on the retail price. The texture, mostly broken, fractured, scarred, concretizes felt impressions of my life.

The Significance:
After the texture dries and hardens, I paint the underlying feel of my life. I splatter, dab, wash, paint, seeking to capture, in color, nuances of trauma-stress and resilience, brokenness and beauty, moral injury and atonement. When I'm successful, my works become autobiographical memorials, memoirs of felt impressions of past and present, of freedom and captivity, and the moody tension between the two.

The Resistance:
Art is also my playground. It's how I rebel against the rigors of incarceration. How I resist being beaten into the hard image of prison life. A life seen etched in tattooed faces, menacing stares, clenched jaws of men set on edge, with hard steel in hand for the opposition. Art allows me to dance in the midst of this distress, to become entangled in Life, in all Its universal shades.

The Artist Life:
When I approach art in this way, which also explores my humanity, it embodies my poem:

"Art = Entanglement"

 Art is what the heart does
         when it runs outside
         to play in Life.

 With radical abandon,
         it smashes open cans of paint
         on hallowed grounds, where it ought not be.

 As colors drip and mingle,
         the ordinary is transformed into a marvelous work worthy
         of divine praise.

 Such exuberant playfulness
         vandalizes conventions and offends
         lawful critics.

 But the heart laughs,
        rebelling against their rules, breaking free
        of customs the dead holds so dear.

Art is what happens
       when a heart gets entangled
       with Life.

~ Rejon Taylor

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