“I am not a bad person, I’ve made so many bad choices in life, addiction. I’ve hurt many people in my life, and now at 51 years old I’m doing a life sentence, 20-75. I have no way to give something back to someone I have hurt in my past. Apologies are not enough, art heals me slowly.”
Dean Rey Salinas # 568063, 8585 N. Croswell Rd, Saint Louis, Michigan 48880
My name is Dean Rey Salinas, some call me Deano, some call me collect. I was born, raised in Lansing Michigan. I am 51 years of age. I’ve had more lives than a cat. What I mean by that is I’ve dodged death several times. My last close call was in 2016. I was assaulted, beat down till my brain swelled out. I had emergency brain surgery. My neuro brain surgeon told my family I needed the surgery, if not I will die and also that there was a real chance I would not survive the surgery. Well here I am, I beat death again.
The reason I shared that with you is connected to the reason I enjoy drawing pictures or sketches. I never drew a picture before my brain surgery, except in grade school. Before prison I picked up art in the county jail. Because I’m brand new to the art world, I’ve only started out with pencils, pens and now colored pencils and a few colored markers now too!
When I first saw the happy, joyful expression on another inmate’s face, he was so happy, because I made him a birthday card for his mother. That was my first challenge, when he asked me to make him a birthday card. Well, the birthday card was a success. I’m so serious, when I seen this person yell and scream “ Yes, Yes, That’s What I’m Talking About!”, well that gave me goosebumps. From that moment on, I have great pleasure in making a difference. To me 70% of prison life is down and grey, depressing, so if I can make a fellow inmate smile, laugh and one time, cry in joy, then I made a difference, and I am all for that.
Making a difference in a picture, a little color and with a little skill, and with my Father God and his guidance, I strive higher and better each piece I do. I’ve prayed for pencils, got them, I’ve prayed for color pencils, got them, I’ve prayed for color markers, got them. Every day I pray for new ideas and I pray for strength to keep pushing my art forward. What I mean by that is I am backed up on orders for Birthday cards, Thinking of You cards, In Loving Memory cards, I Love You and I Miss You cards. At the moment, Happy Holiday cards, Christmas cards, Get Well Soon cards, Congratulations it’s a Boy/Girl Cards.
Every single card that I have the privilege and pleasure to create for someone has an occasion and that occasion comes with a picture or event. That event has a very creative piece of scenery that is created in my mind.
I pat myself on my shoulder and I give thanks to my Father God every single time I finish a project! It is so exciting to me. It is exciting because at the time I am creating this portrait for someone, I know in the back of my mind that at the end of the day, when my card, posters, fliers, etc reaches its destination, the person receiving the card will smile, because their loved one in prison that sent my card to them, took the time to research an artist, select an artist, and send my card, awesome. It is all connected to me, the way I love art, if I can give something happy to someone (my art), and make a difference, sweet, then I scored, and the crowd roars.
Art gets me through every day, and I mean every day. My art is basically a type of meditation for me. I get high on art because I know I at least can give a smile or a laugh or even a happy tear drop back to someone. I am so limited to how, where, and when and even who I can apologize to, but through the healingness of art, I am able to reach out to those that do not even expect it.
By reaching out, I mean actually comforting, bringing peace to, giving forgiveness that needs forgiving to one of weary. So with the blessings of art, it allows me to reach out and heal someone, help someone lift up someone, cheer up someone, and in a way apologize to someone.
Dean Rey Salinas P568063, St. Louis Correctional Facility, 8585 N. Croswell RD, Saint Louis, Michigan 48880