Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Lotus Growing From The Mud

Guy said that line about the lotus on my post about the sleet falling through the razor wire. There's also another neat thing about working in a prison. The amazing artists. I know I usually harp on the negative things about prison life. I talk about poop, mostly. It seems to be a major factor in my career. That and stupidity.

But despite the fact that the majority of the inmates I encounter are either stark raving lunatics or madly revolving a**holes, there are some incredible artists in prison. I've seen drawings and tattoo work that would make you weep. Even in my prime I couldn't draw as well.

Of course, I've also seen stuff that looked like it should be on the school chalkboard in a "Snuffy Smith" comic strip. And I have seen guys with tats so ugly it looked like a 2-year old crawled over them with a pen in his mouth. And maybe.... (shudders) never mind.

Most of these inmates have nothing but time on their hands. So they get art books from the prison library and learn to draw. Then they get ideas in their heads and set them down on paper. Alot of the stuff I have seen involves naked women. For some strange reason it's a popular theme. (Duh) And alot of the stuff is gang related. Lots of knives and weapons and hands making gang symbols.

But some of the stuff they have done is really awesome. Drawings. Paper art. Stuff carved out of bars of soap. Paper mache' done with toilet paper and soap. Things woven out of strips torn from potato chip bags. I briefly worked at another prison (not in the Adseg unit, but in a G.P. house) and was offered some of the most amazing stuff. Of course, I couldn't accept it or take it home if I did. One offender offered me a heart shaped picture frame jewelry box made from tobacco box cardboard and potato chip bag strips. It was awesome. He'd made it in a day and offered it to me. "Then next time they do a cell search, they'll make me throw it away." he stated "So you can have it if you want it."

I was tempted. But it was against the rules, so I didn't.

If you want to look at some really cool art and have an hour or two to kill, just look up "prison art" in your google search.

A lotus growing from the mud.

The man's a genius.


  1. I think prison art is kinda cool. Art is wonderful therapy for the mind, body and soul. Trust me on this one.

    (benesorr) <- a small village that stands in the shadow of the towering hotel blocks in Benidorm, on the coast of Spain.

  2. I don't know if you ever saw the Harley models that one offender made in Rec some years ago, but they were truly awesome. He made five or six and they were auctioned off to the prison staff with the proceeds going to Crime Victims Fund or some such. I think they went for around a hundred bucks a piece, but would have probably fetched much more on Ebay, they were that nice. Everyday I think about all the wasted life in there.

  3. Cliff and I visited a cousin of his today. Her daughter works in a correctional facility. Wouldn't it be funny if it was the same one where you work?