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Roy Lee, 68
Incarcerated: 45 years
Housed: Valley State Prison, Chowchilla, CA

I met a lady pushing a shopping cart through Quentin. It was full of art supplies, she stopped at all the cells and asked if I’d like to draw. From that point on she’d stop by every week and give me pointers. Twenty some years and three prisons later, I met with Stacy Hay, five days a week, in her classroom in the Arts in Corrections building and learned something new. She taught me that after three days of beating Mulberry bark with wooden hammers I could make paper. She taught me how to make hard back books from scratch. I learn mosaic art for a number of mascot projects for nearby schools. I sat with her for hours talking and watching her paint. Her paintings were beautiful, she could keep up with the best of them, she taught me momo printing. The flier I added was of a momo print I did of celtic knot work.

You draw out what you want, cut them out, ink them up, place them on a sheet of fiberglass, with a sheet of damp printing paper over it and run it through a press. She was one of the main driving forces in my life that has kept me upright. I brought music to her to copy for her shop, she was like an old hippy from the early 70’s, I brought Alanis Morissette. Her first CD was kind of racy. One day her husband was a visiting artist and he asked as he was sweating me, “Why do you give my ol lady stuff like that to play?” I remember telling him, it’s time to come out of the 60’s and move forward.

The powers that be, have no idea all the good teachings Stacy did for people.

It hurt to be moved from that prison. I heard right after I left they shut down the Arts in Corrections program. The powers that be, have no idea all the good teachings Stacy did for people. I’ve spent many years trying to give back, but with this system, it is sort of like the old west, once you are put in one spot, that is it! Like the old gunfighters who are not allowed to hang up your guns, but I will keep pushing forward with hope in my heart and peace in my soul.

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