Walter J. “Jesse” Barbee

Walter J. Barbee is currently serving out a sentence for felony murder. Though he dabbled in some drawing as a teenager it wasn’t until he was incarcerated that he took the time to perfect his hidden talents as a contemporary artist. Over the past 18 years he learned to draw, paint in acrylic, water miscible oils, 3D paper mache sculptures and even fine art using an airbrush setup. One of his greater achievements came recently in the creation of a six, 4’x6′ panels that embody the message of positive transition from within prison. These six paintings were hung up along a wall that prison educators, medical staff, administrators and prisoners whom release on a daily basis pass to view.

He continues art in various forms to this very day with the hopes of applying these creative skills once released in a little over ten years from now. He’s also serving as a volunteer facilitator and mentor for special-needs prisoners through art therapy.

“It was through art that I found the gift of purpose and place. Those troubled with mental disabilities take on the same adversities as I once did, so now I share my gift with others so that they can find the peace I carry now.”

Jesse’s work