William, ‘Peedie Weedie’, 35

Meet William, ‘Peedie Weedie’…

Truth be told, I’ve never been anything more than just a pothead.

Incarcerated: 20 years
Housed: Mark Stiles Unit – Beaumont, Texas

I’ve never been anything like a real big and bad serious gangster or anything like that. At 19 I got caught up dealing and messing around with a guy that meant me no good. I had lost my job, out of desperation for money, I let him talk me into hitting up a restaurant. Truth be told, I’ve never been anything more than just a pothead. Real deal – I haven’t been with a woman in over 15 years. I was a dad before I left. If a man was able to be intimate with his wife at least once a year, it just might lower the divorce rate or motivate a brother to stay out of trouble.

Cedrick’s Gallery

Cedrick’s Gallery


Artist Cedrick, 38

Creative Educational Damage

If my original artwork could be summed up in three words, it’s creative, educational and damage. They are also an acronym for my initials. When I put my art pieces together my goal is to stir something up inside and to formulate interpretations. I hope this creative experience will spill over into your life. If I can educate others, it pleases me very much. Damage, I believe, grabs people’s attention and brings lasting change. Some of my art will express situations most artists veer away from. As humans if we are not allocating for true change within our society, how can there be true unity?

As a fat kid, I used drawing as an escape and still do. Once I learned I could visually put my thoughts on paper and pass hours of the day creating my world, I fell in love with art. As a child, I enjoyed tackling the hardest situations. That’s why I took up portraiture. Understanding human anatomy and how it works together is fascinating to me. You must understand the inner before learning the outer.

One of my main inspirations was Leonardo DaVinci. His creativity taught me that everything in life is art. With that knowledge, I came to the realization that life is art and art is life. The reason I submitted my art was to simply let people experience the artistic feelings it gives and hopefully give them the feeling of love visually through my eyes.

The definition of art is “A Human Creative skill activity resulting in the visual representation of nature.” Life is Art and Art is Life.

David, 50

Meet David…

We generate in life, the results that we believe we deserve.

Have you ever seen the path of destruction left behind after a tornado has gone through town? That is what I left behind in Dallas 30 years ago when I came to prison. My whole selfish life was a destructive force that harmed others. In prison I was still selfish but it was tempered due to fear of instant consequences by other cons whom I lived around. I tried to live on that thin line of making things go my way, while not pissing anyone off. Although I thought I was unique and better than everyone else, I really didn’t know anything that pertained to life. One thing I do remember was that I didn’t want to be assimilated into the mass of what I was seeing. The crucible that is prison crushed me and it showed  me just how empty and void I was of the things that pertain to life. And while there are so many things that I could tell you that shaped me (for the better) these last 30 years in prison, I will share one of them. In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in prison, so much of why I did the things I did, became clear. I greatly enjoyed being able to finally make sense of the thought patterns that kept me in a cycle of destructive behavior. All my life I looked for reasons and I blamed everybody and everything for all my bad decisions. I thought, ‘Hey, I’m just going by the way I feel and it was to be right, because my own feelings would not lie to me, would they?’ Wouldn’t they?

In the world I blamed my abusive step-dad and circumstances for all my problems. Yet when I arrived  in prison, I still had the same problems. My step-dad was not there and my circumstances had changed. But don’t worry, I was a pro, I still found  someone to blame. CBT teaches that ‘your thoughts cause your feelings’. If that was true and my feelings were what was guiding me into certain behavior, then I needed to examine what I was thinking (those thought patterns) to see if  I was thinking lies and thus my feelings would also be a lie. It turned out that my whole life was a lie. 

In the world I was the type of guy to speed around the ‘slow’ cars, just to get stopped at a red light and the ‘slow’ cars would pull up around me. I tried to control every aspect of my life to ensure certain outcomes, but if I would have gone slowly with the traffic of life those outcomes would have come naturally. The biggest insight that helped me merge with the traffic was something I garnered from watching Dr. Phil. He said, “We generate in life, the results that we believe we deserve.” I have always seen my lightbulbs as green (because I never wanted to be stopped at red). So I got a greenlight, an AHA moment, and I saw that I was the one creating-generating-all my problems because I believed, thought and felt that I deserved it. I was truly my own worst enemy. Dr. Phil also said, “You have to get to your core belief-what you truly believe, think and feel  about yourself-and change it.” Then I thought about what Jesus said, “It’s what’s in the heart that defiles a man”.

As much as I would like to flow through traffic smoothly-no stops, no cars pulling out in front of me, no potholes- I realize that that is unrealistic. So I changed my perception of life and I know that there will be stops. Cars will  cut me off and there will be potholes along the way. Today, I see that they are there for a reason: to check my reaction, how I respond to it. My reaction will reveal what’s in my core belief -my heart. Right now, in prison I equate my life to  I’m sitting in rush hour bumper to bumper traffic  and I’m in no rush to get out of it. I enjoy life as it is and change how I see life instead of letting it keep me in an unending cycle of destructive choices. Life is what you THINK it is. Let’s continue Living in Reality.

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