Jaiquan Fayson

Jaiquan Fayson is a visual artist and arts educator born and raised in New York, whose oil paintings and sketch portraits attempt to establish an empathetic connection. While incarcerated and in solitary confinement as a young adult, Fayson used his ability to draw as a means of self-directed therapy and a tool for introspection. Fayson earned the Silas H Rhodes Scholarship for artistic and academic achievement before completing his BFA (2015) in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts. With a desire to inspire the next generation of artists, Fayson is currently employed as an art educator in the NYC Public Schools system while in the final semester of his Master’s in Art Education.

Most recently, Fayson participated in HBO’s The O.G. Experience exhibition; was featured in Drawing Freedom, a short documentary about art as a means of therapy, produced by Motto Pictures for the Healthy US Collaborative; and was featured as a subject in author Craig Taylor’s 2022 book New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time. He is a 2023 Right of Return Fellow and Art for Justice Fellow. His work has been featured in publications including the New York Times, ArtNews, Hyperallergic, and WNYC. Fayson continues to explore art as a means of learning, expression and communication.

Right of Return Project

Sad Muppet Series

Jaiquan is planning to make a series of portrait paintings based on sketches of sad muppets that he has collected in his sketchbooks. The portraits will depict random people in the community including formerly incarcerated people as subjects who will be transformed into muppets to complicate the notion of who we view as an offender. The project will also highlight the universal ways that people experience negative emotions but try to conceal them, often resulting in unhealthy coping mechanisms. By providing an anonymous outlet of expression for his subjects the project will serve as a way for formerly incarcerated individuals to freely share their stories without any guilt or shame. The project will be completed in 2023 with advocacy groups and organizations in New York City to help select and hire participants as models.