The Prison Art Foundation was established in 2012 following its founder Jorge Cueto’s dream of creating a large rehabilitation project in Mexican Penitentiaries. The foundation developed a training plan that offers the skills needed for imprisoned persons to be employed in the production of high quality fashion products. Every piece is tattooed utilizing the same method of tattooing done on the human body, giving way to the unique and exclusive designs.
After spending 11 months in the Puente Grande prison in Jalisco, and later being declared innocent, Jorge Cueto started Prison Art. The brand features tattooed leather products designed by current and former prisoners, and the parallel non-profit foundation seeks to instruct and employ incarcerated individuals while they serve their sentence.
While Jorge Cueto was in prison, he realized the situation many were facing inside:
“What I saw was distress with regard to caring and providing for their families. Preoccupied that they couldn’t cover their expenses while inside prison, many of them were trying to figure out what they were going to do as soon as they got out of jail.” – Jorge Cueto
In response to these concerns, Prison Art was born. They needed work, and what we looked to make was make crafts with an added value, of high esteem. We discovered that the incarcerated individuals were very good at tattooing, and those that did not know how were learning the skills very rapidly. We allowed them to direct all their energies and artistic capacities towards doing artwork, everyday items that they design, draw, and tattoo.
“We decided to develop the project based on the tattoo, and we created a machine that, instead of tattooing the human body, could tattoo leather and produce unique, artistic bags.” -Jorge Cueto