Thursday, October 25, 2012

Prison Project Update!

It has been a while since I updated everyone on how things are going with my prison project. So, again, I have been working on a joint show with inmates here in South Carolina. I drive out to a level 3 correctional facility and paint with inmates. I will not bother you by retelling the whole story about how I got started with this project. If you want to know more, like where the inspiration for this project came from, refer back to this post: PRISON PROJECT.

Anyway, so here is some updated work from the prisoners AND my first piece for our collection!!

My painting.

This first painting is one that I have been working on. The overall meaning of my piece is about sin and forgiveness. The purpose is to show that all people do wrong and need forgiveness. I have never been sentenced to jail but I am not blameless. I heard a pastor once say that "the only difference between us and those guys in jail is that our sins aren't against America's laws."
Tattoos are a common theme in the prison with almost all the inmates. These tattoos have given me a vehicle for narrative symbolism. Most of the symbols used in this painting are found throughout art history as a symbol for good or evil. The tattoos in the shadows of my back and arms are representative of the sin in my life and the tattoos in the light, on my shoulders, represent forgiveness. Feel free to do your own research to find out what each symbol means.

All of the pieces have a message for the viewer; a unique message that can only come from someone who has experienced the inside of a prison. Most of the pieces are about forgiveness, reform, and hope.


This diptych is about parenting and about breaking a cycle of fathers who end up in prison. 

Hope for a better future.

Cultural dyslexia 

This painting is about the exploration of one's own heart. 


This painting is about violence and cultural obsession with materialism. The chains represent his incarceration, but they are gold to mimic a hip-hop lifestyle of materialism. The clothing also shows how this inmate perceives material wealth. The 22 on his jersey stands for his sentence of 22 years. The blindfold shows how blind he was to his way of life.

This piece is about fear inside a prison.

This painting is about how a person's actions can effect so many others. Each flower stems from another representing a chain reaction of influence. By hurting just one person you will actually hurt so many.

I will keep this blog updated as we continue to create work. I will also post when we have a date and venue for our show.


  1. Great work as always Charles. The inmate paintings are excellent as well. I'm sure it is very therapeutic for them. Thank you for sharing their work.

  2. Charles they look amazing! Glad you're posting again.