First I would like to thank everyone for looking at our art. This program gives us a chance to give back to the community and provides an avenue for inmates to give of themselves. It is a big part of true rehabilitation. I have been drawing art ever since I can remember. Watching my mom I thought that was the coolest thing. Like the kid I was, I would ask Mom, "Do it again!" then I would try myself. Around the same time my cousin Maria was sick from cancer. I would sit with her and color. My cousin Maria taught me how to blend colors and which ones complemented each other. I use this same method to this day.
In Elementary School I would rather draw than do other work. Somewhere along the way I became lost. In Juvenile Hall I would draw for people and on my letters. That is how I passed the time. When I did not have paper I would tag the walls, the floor, on the door, under the bunk or on any space I could find. In the California Youth Authority I did the same. We learned from each other. And I learned how to tattoo, write names and create the typical prison art, peacocks, gun towers, fences, hearts, roses, etc.
In 2002 I found myself in County Jail for crimes committed. I did some art but I was more worried about my criminal lifestyle and false beliefs. The deeper I dug the more I neglected art. By 2012 my life changed. I felt every bit of the Universe - pressure to either rise above or fold under all that life had thrown at me. Much had been lost! Feeling lonely, lost, depressed, and unsure about the future I decided to draw. Art became my outlet in the midst of all of the madness and sadness that surrounded me. My mind and my heart opened up.
Art was/is my therapy and the biggest part of my redemption. Long hours of silence in the cell allowed me to reflect on my past, claim responsibility for my actions and for the people I hurt directly and indirectly. As my confidence grew through accomplishments so did my self esteem. The healing process began. Here I am today, I am not the same person I was 17 years ago. I feel privileged that I can make an honest effort to serve through art and be of help.
Art is my passion, a lifeline and balance to my soul. There is something very powerful about giving that never gets old. Especially being able to create someone’s idea, or bring an idea to life, realizing the deep appreciation and happiness offered by others . with such genuine spirit is fuel to my fire to give freely and to continue to do what I love with passion and pleasure.
Spiritually we (artists) receive more than we give and that is why it is our honor to give back to humanity in such a personal way.