Art Behind Bars

We get a fair amount of correspondence from incarcerated artists. So when I saw yesterday’s New York Times article about Alfredo Santos, who painted six murals in San Quentin State Prison while an inmate there, my interest was piqued.

Santos was serving four years for heroin possession when he won a competition to paint the murals, each about 12×100 feet. He credits his time in the clink with his development as an artist. (He’s owned a number of galleries since his parole in 1955.)

Five decades later, the murals are at risk. San Quentin, which isn’t in the best shape, is one of the most dilapidated prisons in California. Although a study called for preserving the murals, no suggestions were made as to how that would be done.

Watch this sweet slide show to inspect the massive murals for yourself.

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