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The Visionary Art of Prisoner 114591

by Staff


Tags: arts, outsider art, visionary art, Frank Jones, Raw Vision, haints, devil houses, prison art, drawing, illustration,

Frank Jones artThere once was a Texas prisoner named Frank Jones (1900-1969), who “as a child . . . was told that he was born with a veil over his left eye, and that this veil would enable him to see spirits,” reports Lynne Adele in the outsider art magazine Raw Vision, winner of a 2006 Utne Independent Press Award (article not available online).

Once incarcerated, Jones scavenged blue- and red-colored pencils from prison bookkeepers and embarked upon drawing “devil houses”—loose representations of the Huntsville Prison where he served a life sentence. The devil houses feature thorny compartments populated by wicked spirits that Jones called haints.

Adele writes, “Although Jones’s haints appear to be friendly and playful, their benign expressions disguise their true objectives. Jones indicated that they smile because ‘they’re happy, waiting for your soul’ . . . [they] smile ‘to get you to come closer . . . to drag you down and make you do bad things. They laugh when they do that.’”

Jason Ericson