When I was young I knew I could draw – but I hated school and even the art class got very little of my time or attention. It was not until I ended up in Maghaberry Prison that I had the opportunity to develop my talent. I doodled there to pass the time and drew portraits of family and friends, but I was totally self-taught. When I was encouraged to join the art class, it was what I had been waiting for all my life.
The PAF artist helped me to develop my style and introduced me to techniques that I couldn’t wait to practise later in my cell. The exhibitions of students’ work she arranged were great motivators, and gave me a good feeling about myself for the first time.
Since leaving prison, art has filled the time I used to waste on more anti-social pastimes. I have a little studio space in a corner of my house and enjoy losing myself for hours in my work. What’s even more rewarding is that people want to pay me for it and that’s a great feeling!