TranZending by Kal-El

A large transgender symbol fading from light blue to pink and outlined in blue is on top of a bright background of crisp rainbow stripes (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). Inside of the transgender symbol are stylized cartoon images of 12 different people’s faces and torsos, most of whom are black but representing a range of skin tones. The people show a range of gender presentations and styles

TranZending by Kal-El

Medium: acrylic painting
Size: 28 in x 22 in

Artist Statement: I am Kal-El. A Trans male, currently serving a life sentence in a state facility. I have been incarcerated for the past 16 years. Coincidentally, 3 years ago, I discovered a hidden talent. A friend handed me a brush and some paint to make a birthday card and I fell in love instantly. 

I had never drawn or painted anything so, when I realized that I could, it became an obsession. I started reading books and learning different technics. Painting gives me a happiness that I had never experienced before. 

I see color when I listen to music or feel emotions. I thought everyone had this ability. I never knew that I could put those colors on to a canvas and people could see what I was feeling that day. Sharing these feelings verbally is difficult. A painting, to me, is like telling someone when I’m sad, mad, etc..

It took a lot of encouragement from my peers and department staff (past and present) to embrace this gift and share it.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. and have my regrets. Yet, my biggest, was not using what the Lord had blessed me with when I had the freedom to do it.

See more of Kal-El’s work on his website:

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