Interview with Sharonda Miller, Incarcerated Artist

“My hands can’t scribe what my heart feels”

An interview with Sharonda Miller

Sharonda is an artist incarcerated at the Logan Correctional Center. A virtual gallery of her art can be viewed here. Interview by Emily Bruell

EB: When did you first start to draw?

SM: I started drawing for a prison contest. Never cared to win, just to participate and include a meaningful pic/quote. The sunflower was my first drawing. Art is impactful because I’m able to connect to people with it, as well as inspire. What people need to know about my art is, My hands can’t scribe what my heart feels when I draw, so I let my actions tell the story.

EB: What do you want people on the outside to know about you? 

SM: I’m an activist for social justice and prison reform. I will always say, I can’t draw! Because I know it’s not a gift I was blessed with. But I have a vision to help change lives for the better, that’s what people need to know about me.

I can not draw, yet I see the vision of something beautiful in my head, but my hands can’t copy it. I try anyway. These visions always come with quotes. 

EB: What do you want people to know about your relationship with the criminal justice system, or with Parole Illinois?

SM: The criminal justice system excessively convicts and sentences minorities, a lot of wrongful convictions. It’s going to take love and dedication to change the trajectory.

I contribute to PI by joining the auctions, as well as writing proposals for paroling rehabilitated offenders which was published in the Stateville Speaks Newsletter spring/summer 2018. I have sent the proposal to the entire General Assembly. I plan to create a nonprofit to help parolees re enter society more meaningfully.

See some of Sharonda’s art here