Welmon Sharlhorne

Born in 1952 in Louisiana, Welmon Sharlhorne is known to have made fewer than fifty drawings while in prison, but those drawings have attracted a lot of attention in this country as well as in Europe. His work depicts crisply drawn imaginary structures, people, buses and night skyscapes.

Sharlhorne says that he "used to hustle grass" (do yard work), but he also hustled outside of the law. Over half his adult life has been spent inside prisons, and it is from behind those walls that he made most of his drawings. "I'd tell 'em that I needed manila envelopes," he confided, "to write my lawyer. They'd give me envelopes and Bic pens. Then I'd go to the nurse and get a thing for under tongues [tongue depressor] and make paintings with them." Sharlhorne glued manila envelopes together in order to get the rectangular shape he wanted for some of the drawings. He would cut the envelopes with the edge of a ruler - scissors and knives are not allowed in prison.

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