Sean J. Marshall A Multifaceted Artist


By Staff

Why did you become an artist? 

Ever since I was young, as early as I can remember, I had an affinity for art. As a kid I used to constantly doodle, create my own characters, and sketch my favorite super heroes. But I never thought to pursue an art career until I wound up behind bars. At eighteen, I was sentenced to serve a ten year sentence for robbery. While serving out that sentence, I met a master artist, John P. Sherman, who was serving a life sentence for murder. John quickly became a mentor of mine and took me under his wing after realizing my love for art and the artistic potential I possessed. Under his tutelage I developed into a fine artist and learned the power of messaging through art. Once I saw how impactful art could be, I was committed to being a fine artist. 

What inspires your artwork?

Much of my artwork is inspired by the human experience. As an artist, I feel it’s my responsibility to encapsulate as much of the human reality as possible. I try my best to hold a mirror up to humanity and reflect back the truths of our existence. Both the beauties and the horrors of life are what I attempt to depict in my art. 

Tell us about your book…

Fifteen years ago I was sentenced to prison for forty-five years for a string of robberies. Less than a year into that bid, I was caught conspiring to escape and placed in solitary confinement, where I ultimately spent more than two years in complete isolation. During this darkest period of my life, I began to write my memoirs. The first one, Changing Faces, which I self-published in 2012, is a cautionary tale detailing my path into the criminal world and illustrates the reverberating effects of choices.

The second book, Discarded Lives, details my life behind bars, all twenty plus years of my incarceration. 

What does success look like to you? 

Success, to me, boils down to one word: fulfillment. When all aspects of my life are in complete alignment with God’s will, when I’m living with purpose and intention in everything I do, at that point I will consider myself successful. Success, for me, has little to do with accolades and the accumulation of monetary possessions and more to do with becoming whole and reaching my greatest potential. 

Tell us about your film project…

The Changing Faces film project is a documentary about my life. The film’s producer, Dane Bruhan, began filming the project roughly two years before I was granted clemency and released from prison. The film, currently scheduled for release the summer of 2024, is meant to serve as a cautionary tale, much like my memoirs, and give viewers a complete perspective of my imprisonment, my road to redemption, and my life beyond incarceration. 

What would I like people to take away from the film project?

The main things I hope the film depicts clearly are the reverberating effects of choices and the redemptive potential of human beings. In other words: I want to help people understand the power of choices, both minute and grand, and how decisions echo throughout eternity. More importantly, even the worst criminals can be redeemed. 

Where would I like my career to be in the next five years?

In five years I hope to be a world renowned fine artist and social activist whose works and actions are leaving an indelible impact upon all. 


Sean J. Marshall is a multifaceted individual, widely recognized as a social activist, artist, and author who passionately channels his advocacy for justice and awareness through his various forms of creative expression. Rising triumphantly from challenging circumstances, Sean’s life story is a testament to resilience and the transformative power of purpose.

Social Media Handles:

Facebook: Sean Marshall

Instagram: artist_seanjmarshall

Main Website:


Most times it’s the darkest periods of our lives when we begin to seek the light.  For some reason people never truly cherish something until that something is taken away.  And only when we’ve reached our lowest point do we tend to see the heights we’re destined to climb.

In the fall of 2008 I was sentenced to serve forty-five years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for my involvement in an armed robbery spree in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Shamefully, I was returning to prison for the second time, and when I received my second prison sentence, I seemed to be in a hopeless situation.  Besides my freedom being instantly taken for a lifetime, I was estranged from most of my family and “friends”, I was separated from the love of my life and my only child, my dreams were replaced with nightmares, and my life had little meaning.  Many had chalked me up as dead and left me by the wayside.

And I nearly gave up.  At the onset of my incarceration hatred consumed me.  I slowly began to deteriorate inside and out.  And desperate to end my misery, I contemplated suicide and even tried to escape from jail and prison by violent means.  Nothing mattered to me anymore.  As I was trapped behind bars, death and unobtainable freedom were all I longed for, and for a while I couldn’t see anything beyond the hell in which I was confined – or see beyond myself, for that matter.

Then something within me changed.  It happened during the fall of 2010 when I was at my lowest.

At the time I was two years into my forty-five year sentence.  I was stuck in a maximum security prison.  I was in solitary confinement (the “hole” or administrative segregation as it’s called) imprisoned in a frigid cell 24 hours a day – cuffed, shackled and escorted by prison guards everywhere I went, even to take a shower – all because some prison officials caught me and six other prisoners plotting a very violent prison escape.  In effect I had lost nearly all contact with the outside world.  I had only seen or held my then one year old daughter (my only child) a couple of times since her birth, and it had been six months since id seed her in any capacity or heard anything about her wellbeing.  Hope was a stranger.  Scars had begun to form on my wrists from the numerous times I entertained the thought of killing myself with a razorblade.  All-in-all, I had hit rock bottom.  If hell has multiple levels, I was surely at the lowest one the fall of 2010, and I felt like I was all alone in the world; the only company I had were the field mice that used to scurry in and out of my cell.

Such loneliness and despair forced me to look within.  At the darkest, lowest point of my existence, I began to genuinely take stock of my life and evaluate many of my terrible choices.  I questioned why I walked down so many dead end roads and how I allowed my life and freedom to be taken from me to the point I was trapped in a dungeon of sorts, existing with mice that possessed more freedoms than me.

Amid my introspection I came to hate what I allowed myself to become.  I was ashamed of how low, powerless, and weak I appeared to be.  The lifeless and feeble reflection I saw in the mirror wasn’t the man my mother raised or the man I was placed on this earth to be.

Hence, I desired to change.  I had a strong desire to piece back together the shattered aspects of my life.  I wanted to somehow right my many wrongs.

But I felt conflicted.  The next thirty plus years of my life were to be spent in prison, and I questioned if it might be too late for positive change.  Every day I contemplated whether or not I had dug too deep a grave for myself, what good I could possibly achieve from behind bars, and what I could do to bring light to my circumstance.  But no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t find any rays of hope.  No matter where I looked all I saw were locked doors.  Worse still, I didn’t believe in myself anymore, and I knew by no strength of my own wouldn’t be able to ascend the grave I was in.

In order to overcome my circumstance I had to look beyond myself for inspiration and strength.  I had to believe in something greater than myself in order to propel forward.  Granted, positive change would invariably have to start with me (and it had) but the facilitation of that change I had to leave in God’s hands (as I choose to believe in a higher power).

Accepting this fact I began to slowly emerge from the darkness.  As I remained in solitary confinement unsure of what the next day would bring, each morning I began to awake with the strength and power of faith.  Unsure of myself I relied on faith to approach each day with purpose, whereby I began to write and draw again and rediscover myself.  Unsure of where my next step could lead, I began to walk the steadiest path I could, with faith my steps would lead me back home and to freedom.  And unsure how to rebuild everything I destroyed, I began rebuilding myself with faith I would one day be able to become the man I aspired to be, help others, and heal all those I wounded.

That’s when God opened my eyes to two guiding lights to help guide me the rest of the way. 

Sometime during the spring of 2010, my mom – my queen – brought my then one year old daughter to see me.  It was the first time I had seen my baby girl since she was a newborn; my mom and I had recently mended a strained relationship; and I immediately became putty when I saw the two people that mean the most to me.

Under some dim lights my daughter was support in my mother’s arms with the most curious look on her face as she examined all my features.  Bliss.  My mom, my daughter – so full of life, so perfect.  The three of us were in a small visiting booth where a large Plexiglas window divided us.

All I could do was smile during that entire visit.  Throughout it my daughter would outstretch her itty-bitty arms towards me and pat the visiting booth window, attempting to touch me.  Then she would babble and joyfully begin playing with my mom.

In these moments I finally began to realize something:  my life wasn’t over.  Sitting before me were two very good reasons for me to smile, count my blessings and press forward.  And following tht gripping visit with my mother and daughter, I vowed I would endure and overcome every obstacle in my way.  I vowed I would always look ahead regardless of how dark the horizon seemed.  Something I came to understand after seeing my mom and baby girl is that no darkness or pain lasts forever, it’s never too late to change and do the right thing, faith and love can help you pull through anything, and there’s always hope despite how ugly your reality may seem.

My life has been devoted to demonstrating these realities.

Still I rise…still I rise!