How “Destroying Government Property” Contributed to a Work of Art
Date:  03-26-2014

You can take the artist out of the community, but you can’t keep art from being created in prison
When most people think about contraband in prison, visions of drugs, cell phones, prison hooch, or “homemade” weapons such as shivs come to mind. We might have seen movies where a saw blade is smuggled into prison in a cake (like that would really happen), or an inmate carves a gun out of soap and uses shoe polish to give it a more realistic look (also not likely to happen). In most case the contraband items are smuggled prison. It isn’t often that we hear of a prisoner sending contraband out of prison, and that the contraband items are sheets.

Yes, sheets. One might ask how a sheet can be considered contraband in prison. Well, no one claims all prisons rules make sense. Because the artist, Jesse Krimes, cut prison issued sheets into panels for his art work he was guilty of “destroying government property,” and the panels were therefore considered contraband. If they were found.

The sheet panels turned into an elaborate fantasy-fueled wall mural that Slate describes as being made with prison hair gel, photos from the New York Times travel section, and plastic spoons. The finished panels were smuggled out of prison by mail so that they could be stitched together by Krimes’ girlfriend. The medium artist Jesse Krimes chose to use might be unconventional, but some may call it pure genius. The story behind Krimes’ work of art is inspiring as it is amazing.

Read Slate’s account of how an artist who happened to be an inmate used his gift to create beauty in a forlorn institution here.

Source: Mothers of Bedford