Ray, 42

Ray, 42

Meet Ray…

“I’m grateful for this God given gift of being able to draw and create what’s on my mind, more so what’s in my heart”

Ray, 42

Incarcerated: 23 years

Housed: California State Prison, Vacaville

Art is Life. Art is wonderful, soothing, the great escape, but I must mention the golden aspect: art is open for interpretation and all interpretation is valued! As an artist I get asked a well known question, “How long have you been drawing?” My response, since I was five. But as I reflect back on some of the artwork that captivated my attention, it came from prison. My cousin’s boyfriend sent her a hand-made Mickey Mouse card. Mickey had a tank top on, Jacky’s and some Nike Cortez’s on his feet, looking and standing banged out… and that card was drawn in ink pen. Another piece of artwork came from my uncle, he sent my aunt a hand-made card with a car drawn on a piece of filing folder, and the car was a “Monte Carlos” with a tent on the windows and Dayton wire wheels also drawn in ink pen. These pieces of artwork motivated me to keep drawing over and over until I reached some resemblances. Throughout my childhood I’ve had my fair share of getting in trouble and the majority of the time being on punishment, I spent drawing. Now as аn adult being on punishment (incarcerated), my time is devoted to working in the Delancey Street Restaurant, in groups, painting, drawing creatures and practicing with other mediums. But overall I’m grateful for this God given gift of being able to draw and create what’s on my mind, more so what’s in my heart.

Francisco, 32

Francisco, 32

Meet Francisco

Finally there’s something out there showing society we are human!

Incarcerated: 13 years 

Housed: Kern Valley State Prison

In 2008 I met the most wonderful woman in the world.  Our journey isn’t like most, we decided to be friends for the first three years, afterwards we made it official.

Being in prison since I was eighteen, I’m still learning and trying to find who I am, while  maintaining a relationship, has been a bumpy road! Yet  I am proud to say, I am married to an amazing, caring, loving, funny, patient, understanding and resilient woman. She has been the light in my life that was absent for so many years. She’s my sunshine in this gloomy, dark place. She helps liberate me from the prison chaos! She challenges me to be at my best – mentally, physically, and spiritually. She brings out the best version of myself.

My dear wife is my strength when I want to give up, and my future is no longer bleak. She gives me a reason to push myself harder than before. She has helped me to understand and feel true love. Knowing she loves me brings me comfort.

The photos I am sharing were taken the day after our wedding and it’s the happiest I’ve ever seen her. It brings me to tears knowing I no longer hurt people but give them joy and happiness and love.

I love you Maria. And I am proud to say I’m your husband. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to love you, to show you all my great qualities, and to share your life with me. Till death do us part, I am always and forever your husband.

📸: Francisco’s own

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