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Francisco Hernandez began creating artwork while incarcerated in the Oregon State Penitentiary. He is inspired by the beauty of the world, and his artwork provided a small sense of freedom—a chance to share his humanity from behind prison walls.

Artist Statement

Many of my paintings focus on the beauty of creation, centering on wildlife, landscapes, and portraits. Birds hold a fascination for me, both as creatures of beauty and as symbols of freedom. By using design, light and color, I bring the viewer in to let them experience what I see.

I am a self-taught artist who has been creating art for the last 16 years. My artwork continues to be influenced by my University of Oregon bachelor’s degree in general social science with an emphasis in law, crime, and society. My studies focused on many social problems, including mass incarceration, inequality, poverty, and racial issues. Even though some of these themes are very hard for me to paint because of my past experiences, they are important to express so that others may see some of the injustices present in our society.