The William B. Livingston Collection
This is Will. I received his contact information from Wendy, the woman behind the Prison Arts Coalition (a wonderful website sharing the art made by individuals who are incarcerated). One letter turned to two, then three, and four, and many many more. We have now been writing back and forth for about 6 months. I'll let you read his story in his own words.
"My entire life I've been a musician but I've always wanted to be an artist. Before coming to prison I never felt comfortable enough to pursue any talents in art. I refused to take the classes in school even though I was very interested. The only time I would try was late at night after heavy drinking.
In 2010 I was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the death of a man I caused by drinking and driving. Since music was not an option for the first 3 years of my incarceration I decided to finally pursue art. After a while I found a style inside myself and dove in completely. Just like music, I was self-taught.
I have now been incarcerated for over 8 years and continue to do art in many ways and mediums. My family has been able to help me greatly by selling my art on the outside through galleries, art festivals, and various shows and online sales. To our great surprise people have responded positively to the work.
I have also spend countless days working on paintings and projects for charitable donations. These items are usually sold through silent auctions to help them raise operating funds. Some of these organizations include Special Olympics, Cancer Research, Employment for the Disabled, The Messages Project, and the Outsiders House Renovation just to name a few.
All this could never replace the person I killed through my negligence but it's a way that I can do something in his memory."
I expressed to Will that I would love to share his art with my audience through collection dedicated to him and his work. He was excited to work together on this. He sent me over many ideas for pieces he would like to see on shirts. We decided on a four part art series labeled "Throwaway People".
"The motivation of the "Throwaway People" is pretty simplistic. They represent the inmate population, my surroudings, and the chaos that is prison life. There is no silence in prison, no alone time, very little peace.... It's a hard thing to describe to someone who has never been through but a very real thing to anyone who has."
All artwork is produced by Will Livingston in prison.
All shirts are hand screen-printed myself in Grand Rapids, Michigan on my small DIY screen-printing press.
Every shirt comes with a custom tag sewn into the neck and a full print-out of Will's picture, story, and thoughts.
Thank you for your endless support.
Founder, Forgive Everyone Co.
"I will write more soon. Take Care.
"I Will Create. I Will"
"I have gone through so many years of my life where the only thing I wanted to do was sit in a room, drink whiskey, listen to records, and cry."
"Thank God today I am almost 9 years sober. And thank God I still have the opportunity to listen to music, paint, and cry and not need the alcohol and drugs."
20% of all proceeds from this collection are donated to non-profits helping men and women, like Will, re-enter society after prison. They provide housing, employment, rehabilitation, and mentorship.
Every Single Person Is Redeemable
See more of Will's Art and purchase on his Instagram: @PrisonArt6