Artist Kevin Reid worked with inmates of HMP Barlinnie over ten weeks in the spring of 2010 to produce a (bio)graphic novel.

Participants were asked to develop a storyboard and characters based on their own experiences. This allowed a certain level of anonymity and gave participants the freedom and creative space to look at themselves and the circumstances which led to them being incarcerated.

Issues concerning crime, violence, life-chances and potential pathways away from offending were discussed by the group, and their work reflects the realities of life in communities blighted by these problems.

Reid and the project participants explored artworks from the national art collection by George Grosz, Paul Klee, Tracey Emin and Andy Warhol and looked at the graphic novels of Joe Sacco and Harvey Pekar, DC comics, 2000AD and VIZ publications to inspire and influence the style and content of the work produced.

The participants responded fluently to a medium they identified with and have produced well-crafted stories and images which reflect their wit and insight.

The finished work from each participant has been collated into a graphic novel, with selected frames from the storyboards displayed as large-scale screenprints in the Mirrors: Prison Portraits exhibition.

Die Besitzkröten [Toads of Property], George Grosz, 1920 − © DACS 2015