If you send me your artwork/drawings please fill out/submit the "Artist Release Form" found at the bottom of this page.


Image Posted by SGT. Sandvig/Michigan


Posted by SGT. Sandvig/Michigan


Bringing you people who are forgotten and deserve to be remembered.

Bighouse Prison Art is here to bring you the people who are thought of so little, yet have so much to give.  The talent of these men and women is so great, yet remains unseen.  Open your heart and mind as you enjoy the drawings, poems, and stories, of those many choose to ignore...........

At no time do I condone any illegal actions that may have been committed by anyone either incarcerated or free, but only offer the fact that each person is still a human being.  I was once told by an incarcerated friend of mine that "the only difference between those who are 'in' and those that are 'out' is that those that are 'in' got caught".  How many of us have never done anything for which we could be standing before a court of law?

 Inmate Artwork/Drawings

The Prison Art website was created to provide an online outlet for the sale of artwork and crafts created by prisoners. Prisoner artists from throughout the U.S. can post their works within.

"When the prison gates slam behind an inmate, he does not lose his human quality; his mind does not become closed to ideas; his intellect does not cease to feed on a free and open interchange of opinions; his yearning for self-respect does not end; nor is his quest for self-realization concluded. If anything, the needs for identity and self-respect are more compelling in the dehumanizing prison environment. Whether an O. Henry authoring his short stories in a jail cell or a frightened young inmate writing his family, a prisoner needs a medium for self-expression." 

Thurgood Marshall

Click for Traverse City, Michigan Forecast

Home of JailSergeant.com

Northern Michigan

We have hundreds of original pieces of art on display. Each painting is accompanied by an artist profile indicating where the artist is locked up, what materials they used and what inspired them to create art. Buyers are encouraged to write and communicate with artists and let them know which piece they purchased and why they puchased it. Prisoners take an immense amount of satisfaction knowing someone on the outside appreciates their work!



Porter County Sheriff's Department

                                                  Valparaiso, Indiana

     With Time, Toilet Paper, Prisoners Create Folk Art
                                                         May 11, 2009

By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent


Sheriff David Lain likes to hand people the softball-sized model of a skull wearing a cowboy hat, and ask people what they think it's made of.  About half guess it's made of toilet paper, he says.  He usually has to quickly tell them then that the brown tint came from coffee.  The red in the eye sockets might be ink from a pen, although he doesn't know where the orange there came from. The eyeballs were carefully torn from magazines.  Lain also has another such skull in his office, this one pure white. He also has a bouquet of intricate toilet paper roses, a toilet paper model of a horseman being hung from a tree, plus numerous crosses on chains, elaborately woven from threads from bedding and prison uniforms.  It's all contraband confiscated from prisoners since the Porter County Jail opened almost seven years ago.  Lain can appreciate the talents of prisoners who use whatever is on hand to make art, but there is a down side to their handiwork.  The problem is prisoners use their rationed toilet paper or destroy jail property for material.  "It harms the issued equipment. It shortens the life span. That's why when something like this is found, we can appreciate the talent, but we have to discourage it," Lain said.  It's a consequence of having a lot of time, said Warden Joe Widup, who's run the prison for the last 10 years.  The inmates get up at 6 a.m. and go to bed at 10 p.m. Those who don't take Bible study or classes in anger management or chemical abuse, or study for their GED, have a lot of free time.  "The busier we can keep them, the better not only for us but for them," Lain said.  There have been craft classes and there's a lending library, but any movement of prisoners uses limited staff time.  Not all the projects have been discouraged, however.  Lain's collection includes a series of PCJ Daily newspapers written with blue pen on single sheets of notebook paper, a few times on toilet paper and eventually on a 3x5 inch notecard that proclaimed "paper shortage ends production of Daily."  The headline of one of the toilet paper issues stated, ironically, "toilet paper in short supply."  The newspaper was created by prisoner Mike Kaufman during his 2004 stay, usually using his own materials.  "We found it a little humorous, so we let him go one with it and gave it to the sheriff (Dave Reynolds)," Widup said.  The issues, handwritten with drawings and sometimes crosswords, circulated around Kaufman's cell block and addressed whatever was on his mind – diet, staff, a "neighborhood watch" for police or "Olympic garbage can sliding trials banned at PCJ."  Some also insult staff in crude terms.  "If the guy's doing it just for his own entertainment, that's one thing. When the guy's being disrespectful towards staff, we have to draw the line," Lain said.  They've seen fewer of these projects over the years, Lain said.  Widup said there's also much less graffiti than at the previous jail. Those who break the rule can face sanctions, from a 23-hour confinement to their cell to solitary confinement.  Three violations in 30 days could end up before a hearing officer and lead to the loss of "good time" behavior credits.


Every expression on the website displays the deep conviction that each artist or athlete has for the particular forum in which they excel, and we proudly share it. 

When innovative and creative minds pour their artistic passions into something extreme, a quality base is born. Like a thriving seed in fertile soil, it grows and nothing can stop it. That’s what Convicted Artist is; a big mosaic of captivating art, extreme sports and intriguing styles.

I thought this was a cool site to add for your viewing pleasure 

Raymond Gray has learned from life, and hard times, and even from love. His artwork reflects all of those. That he has spent more than 29 years in prison makes his work even more incredible.

Coleman Young, the late mayor of Detroit owned one of Ray's paintings. Former State Senator Henry Stallings exhibits some of Ray's work and is selling prints for him. You will see very few original paintings of Ray's for sale because one never knows when the prison will totally stop all paints coming into the prison. If that happens, Ray will draw with pencils. If he can't get pencils, he will give new meaning to watercolors. He will keep finding ways to express his art.

Ray's work has been exhibited at Art Expo 2001 in New York at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and at other galleries throughout the East Coast. It has traveled with New Initiatives for the Arts to galleries all over Michigan, and more than a dozen pieces are on exhibit at Art on the Ave, in Detroit Michigan (Senator Stallings' gallery).



Ray was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn't do. The name of the man who did commit that murder was given to the judge at Raymond's sentencing. Even though there were two people who did the robbery/murder, the police and the system were not interested in following up on that piece of information. You see, in 1973, perhaps even now, if the Detroit police could catch one out of two suspects, that was a 50% success rate - better than their usual. The fact that it was an innocent man was irrelevant.

In December, 1980, Charles Matthews, the same name as appears in the court transcripts, wrote and signed a confession to the crime, the confession was sent to the judge who ordered a hearing, but then the confession disappeared. After three years, Charles Matthews was finally brought into court where he admitted he had "personal knowledge of the crime" and then he took protection of the 5th amendment. There was no sign or clue as to what had happened to the confession.

In December, 2000, almost 20 years to the day, our attorney was going through old paperwork at the State Appellate Defenders office in Detroit, Michigan, and in the file folder was the confession. It fell out, like a twenty year overdue gift from heaven. But this gift is not enough. The court will not let him go that easily. We are putting prints and even some originals of Ray's work up for sale to raise money for Ray's legal expenses including investigators, attorney fees, copying, court filing fees, you can hardly imagine the cost of fighting something like this for over twenty-nine years!

Throughout all of this, Ray has maintained his sanity and kept hope alive in his artwork. When he had oils and canvases, he painted on canvas. When the Department of Corrections forbade the use of oil paints, he switched to acrylics, on canvas or on canvas board when stretcher frames were not available.

When the Michigan Department of Corrections decided that officers' coats would be green, they stopped the prisoners from buying green paint. Ray couldn't buy any; fortunately, green comes from blue and yellow so it wasn't a hardship. We never told the "corrections" people about that one.













Prison Art...Featuring: "Raymond Gray"
                 See his work.....hear his story 
See more at PrisonerLife.com
                             Click Here
                                  Prisoner Art

Prisoner art tells a compelling story due to its context and content, however it has long been overlooked. Prisoner art usually stays within the walls of the jailhouse or penitentiary, preventing its exposure to society. In addition, when thinking of prisoners, there is a social stigma that attaches itself to these people. Their transgression and crimes override their value as citizens and creative artists. Many debates have formed over whether or not the prisoners should be allowed to show their art at all. People often only see prisoners as an “aberration.” (Prison creations) Prisoner art (also called therapeutic art) shows “humanizes” people about the issues that prisoner face on a daily basis, such as anal rape and diseases such as AIDS, HIV, and Hepatitis C.
               Read more of this very interesting article
                                                  Click Here

                 The Cell

© Jake Wilson
Come in and take a seat, at long last we get to meet.

I know that you are here for committing a crime, so lets you and me do some time.

I've got some things I'd like to say, I will see you change from day to day.

The thoughts you will have, the things you will feel, I will be here for your every meal.

You will feel some sadness and you will feel alone at night, you will say "I wish that I were home", make the best of the time you've got, and let's hope that it's not a lot.

One day we will part, yes, you and me, that is the day they set you free.

I'm sure you want to know my name, it hasn't changed, it's still the same. We are both together in this man made hell.

Glad to meet you, I'm your prison cell.

           A Prison Poem

As with many kids, my son (now age 17) got mixed up with a bad bunch. He was caught in possession of drugs, never squealed on the other kids so he was the only one punished and was sent to a Youth Camp for 9 months. He came home, mixed with them again and committed a more serious crime... with them. This time he has been sent to a prison for 3 3/4 years.

Too Young For Bars...

© Ken Budden
Not a day goes by I don't think of you Son,
Locked up like an animal and still so young.
It doesn't seem right, it doesn't seem fair.
The sentence they gave you by putting you there.

But the crime has been done...you rejected advice,
And young as you are, you must now pay the price.
It breaks my heart knowing what you now face,
And I pray your return from that forbidding place.

The root of the problem was the company you kept,
Being out of a night-time while the rest of us slept.
You were easy to talk to, you fell in their trap,
And they stayed at home while you took the rap.

You were given a chance, to a Youth camp you went,
I was hoping that that was a 'lesson well spent'.
But when you came home, you met with them again,
Now look at the trouble you've got yourself in.

I remember your young days, teaching you right from wrong,
Telling you never be weak, and always be strong.
Your manners were perfect, they said so at school,
The girls all adored you and thought you were cool.

But it's never too late, I know this time you've learned,
Like the proverbial 'new leaf', it is you who has turned.
A new life awaits you, there are people who care,
Who love you and need you and will always be there.

I miss you.

Love, Dad xxx

We are a the organization “Justice for” established to help abolish the death penalty. We are a NON PROFIT organization with families and friends of prisoners, former prisoners, human rights activists and abolitionists of the death penalty. Besides fighting to abolish the death penalty and to do campaigning for the innocent we also want to try to improve the every day life in prison. We can only imagine how important it is to be in contact with the outside world and how much joy it can bring you to meet new friends. We will fight for the prisoners rights. We are working together with organizations and activists all over the world.
We are searching pen pals for the prisoners in the USA who have a death sentence, life sentence, or long term sentence, but we search too pen pals for prisoners in Europe and for prisoners in Australia and Canada.
We give all prisoners a chance to send us writings, to show their arts and to offer many, many more projects.
All projects are free for the prisoners. 



See lots of ART created by Inmates



Artist Release Form

To Whom It May Concern:

I hereby grant permission for my artwork/drawing/sketch to be used only by Kevin Sandvig in his personal website named JailSergeant.com.

It is understood that my artwork will not be sold without my permission.

I certify that I am the owner/artist or representative of the artwork being submitted.

Thank you,

Sergeant Kevin Sandvig

(If you prefer mail me your artwork.  My address is:

Kevin Sandvig
P. O. Box 511
Interlochen, Michigan  49643

               Fill in the content blocks below and press "submit".

Artist Name:
Description of Artwork:
                   Luke Beldin's Artwork

From:  Luke Beldin                                                                                                     Luke's E-Mail message dated:  1/7/2011

Thought Maybe you would be interested in checken out some stuff I made while in the sd state prison, I was in ad seg, and max for little over 5 years, they took my tooth pick cabins when i first started but the warden decided to let me have it all back so long as i sent it out when im done right away. Thought that was pretty cool of'm, I made light houses, cabins, and saddles, the saddles were made out of garbage sacks and instant coffee. Anyways Ill send ya pic or two.  i only got some pics right now of a few light houses and my first colored pencil from in there, i was the librarian for two years and found some three d glasses in a book that was donated so thats what the windows are in the bigger one, I never did finish i got paroled and found a rock and after nine years thats as far as i have got with it, the light house was done inside of course they woulden let me have a rock like that ha ha. anyways its different.

                            Another message from Luke

From:  Luke Beldin                                                                                                     Luke's E-Mail message dated:  1/8/2011

Hi and sweet  you put it up, right on Thank you Im glad you liked them, Ill send you a few more pics I have. You know most guys doing time that feel alone or are alone kinda get used to the solitude of it all, maybe its depression or coping or ? who Knows but we start dreaming of living off the land being away from people, a hermit. we all have a dream of something and well this was mine. I started to draw plans for the cabin i was going to build in the mountains when i got out and decided i was going to build it out of tooth picks and i did, then i just kept doing stuff, it progressed, I started furnishing them and trying to make them as real as they were in my mind, it was very peaceful i could escape
in to them and out of the crazy depressive life of prison. 
Not the best photos but you get the idea at least, you can use'm or dont. I haven't tried to sell them because when i see this stuff it reminds me of a time, and its possible to make something out of nothing. Now that im out, im not rich or famous or making all the right choices, but im out and living life making something out of nothin.
I Did do alot of drawings too in there, if interested let me know Ill see if i can get some pics to you. Thank you for your time!

 Thank you Luke for
sharing your story
 & artwork
with us!!

You Rock!
  Sergeant Sandvig
Sergeant Sandvig,         Jan 18, 2011 

Im not very poetic, i only tryed writing three of them in my life. T
his one is from jail in Lake County, SD 1997, I was seventeen and just got told i was facing 230 years, i had this idea that if you do the crime you do the time, so this was before my escape when reality was taking hold.  Kinda corny now i know but ha ha it wasn't then... 

                       You know not rage
'Till your sealed in this cage
Loneliness you know not
'Till your sentenced here to rot

You've never felt unwhole
'Till justice takes its toll
You've never felt insane
'Till your the one to blame

You never know whats in a prisoners mind
'Till these bars you stand behind

You've never tasted shitty food
'Till these meals get served to you
You take for granted your freedom found
'Till you sit here, Prison Bound

Luke Beldin
Former South Dakota prisoner
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"After Arrest...Before Trial...After Conviction...Until Release...we are there"