When most people hear of prison/inmate art, they tend to think of smoking guns and scary clowns, ghoulish specters and fanged teeth skulls, motorcycles and souped up cars, drawings of tattooed women scantily clothed (or not at all) in various sexually suggestive poses, etc.

But, what a majority of people don’t realize is that there is a whole other world to prison/inmate artwork.  A gentler side.  A side that depicts and honors nature and animals.  As you may have surmised by now, I personally love animals, and hence images of many different animals in art. And, in this instance – the horse!  

Throughout history, horses have been a favorite and common subject in art; depicting horses in military battle, hunting, transportation, rural and working life, as well as the romanticism of the American cowboy and Wild West, and the pleasure ride and hunt of the noblesse and elite.   

Why is there such a fascination for horses? Mainly because they are beautiful creatures. Their anatomical proportions are generously gorgeous, and with their flowing manes, large liquid eyes and elegant yet powerful strides, they are simply beautiful to look at. 

I hope you enjoy these few samples of equine artwork created by talented incarcerated artists.


Leslie Lakes, Director

Art credits:

Three horses pencil drawing: Anonymous

Watercolor: Sammo Whammo (TX)

Woman and Horse: Dino Bianco (CA)

Stampeding horses: pencil drawing by Clare Skjonsky (LA)

Little Bill (VA)

Jesse Simmons (VA)