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My name is Kenneth Key, a 66 year old who grew up in Chicago on the other side of perfect. Serving natural life without the possibility of parole, I am reaching beyond windowless walls in the hopes of sharing, and maybe selling some art.
I'm an artist who paints with the intent to provoke thought, conversation and hope. My objective is to bring joy and enjoyment to my viewers. I paint because it’s therapeutic, but also because it supports me and my son who, himself, is serving life in prison. Art creates connections and moments between us.I’m self-taught and have been painting for over 30 years now. I paint everything, but people themes are my first love. I love art that speaks; art that makes one think; art that is a reflection of our spiritual and social consciousness. Personal expression of my culture is what I often try to bring to the canvas.
By sharing my art, it expresses truths despite the labels society puts on me. For I am still human. I laugh, I feel, I cry despite being forgotten by many. There is something profound and awesomely emotional about painting. I’ve been blessed to have such a talent, and I appreciate the opportunity to share some of my art with you.
Thanks for reading.
PrisonArtWare.com offers its Legacy Artists the unprecedented opportunity to own a place of their own online; it's a virtual gallery, personal space and retail venue we call a Featured Artist Page. Click here to view Kenneth's generic Featured Artist Page where you can help him with any amount towards the $35 yearly cost of maintaining the space
Kenneth Zamarron (2)
My son cannot do this but gives me his art. I asked what art means to him and this is what he said: I am literally a man buried alive. Every morning I look into a mirror and burst within, insanity burglarize my mind as I cry knowing this is my life, life at 16, 16 doing life.
Now 27, the only thing true in my life is art. It is my artillery Behind These Walls. And for you I promise to be as articulately artful as possible. This is how I can be true to you
Read about our artists here, then click their name to visit their online portfolio.
Let me start by telling you how I came to drawing. I started when I was in the county jail. We were locked in our cells 23 hours per day. I had nothing to do but read a pocket-sized bible...and write letters to home. I spent two years in there, and you can only read the bible so many times.
So I started to draw. Mostly I drew pictures without any shading so I could get better at my line work. It wasn't until I went to prison that I learned how to do the shading work. I'd been down for five years at this point, then I met this guy taught me how to shade. I've been drawing now for 12 years and hope to do it the rest of my life.
I've always been into tattoos and the tatoo world. It's an art that has evolved so much that got me hooked. It went from doing work that looked like that of a child, to the masterpieces I do now. I like seeing these people walking around with these pieces of artwork on them. It became my inspiration to make myself better with my work. I'm hoping to make sculpture when I'm released from prison, so look out for them in around four years.
All of my artwork is signed with my prison nickname, "Lazy" so you know what is mine when you see it and a symbol next to it.
Did you know that you can purchase my original work and limited prints at my Featured Artist Page? Click here to check it out.Like what you read and see? Leave comments below and my PrisonArtWare rep, Intern Zachary, will send them to me. I appreciate all kinds of feedback. Thank you!
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Leonard Willis (8)
Leonard (Willis) Willis Jr's love for drawing was born out of his love for semi tractor trailers. Pulled out of school at the fifth-grade, his dad made him work like a grown man, introducing Willis to heavy machinery. But as he grew older, having his youth spent at hard labor—stifling his creative nature—brought emotional pain which led drugs. Addiction led to crime.
In prison, bored, and missing that freedom big rigs offered him over the open road, he looked deep inside himself, pouring out his heart, drawing semi trucks from pictures and memory—envisioning a new future. Feelings and encouragement from fellow inmates revealed natural talent and Willis wanted more, so he taught himself to draw portraits of famous people. "Great love", Leonardo da Vinci said”, is born from great knowledge of the thing loved". For Willis, a love of drawing was born.
In federal prison for bank robbery, he'd learned that his prison job painting would pay more for him if he earned a GED. Wanting more money for art supplies, he studied and passed the high school equivalency test, graduating in a cap and gown ceremony.
Knowing that if he got into any trouble, the prison guards would take his art supplies, he adhered to all the prison rules. His love and talent for drawing grew, changing his beliefs and himself, others, and the world.
Now he's driven to use art as a way to enliven and make better the lives of others.
Art saved Willis’s life. In prison it set him free. Drawing daily, and doing it for its own sake, he's excited about his future.
For questions, comments, or inquiries into custom commissions, contact Willis's gallery rep, Intern Zachary at firstname.lastname@example.org.