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A Vision From the Inside

by Mouse Lopez

A Vision From the Inside chronicles the life and times of Jaime "Mouse" Lopez, an incredibly talented black and grey, single-needle artist serving a life sentence at the Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, CA. Although seemingly expensive for its slim size, the 80 stunning pages of handwritten notes, open interviews, immensely detailed tattoo flash drawings, and pictures of the artist behind bars transport the reader from Lopez' birthplace of Jalisco, Mexico to his life as a southern-California graffiti artist/tattooer turned gang member, and ultimately into his prisoner's world.

Life as an artist at Kern Valley State Prison is a daily struggle, especially when it comes to getting supplies for his drawings and sketches; Mouse has to go to great lengths just to obtain a working pen. Wrestling with security measures, lock downs, and incidents out of his control, Lopez often resorts to bartering his food and drink. Only when not on lock down and if the stars align correctly and he has the funds to do so, can Lopez occasionally buy supplies at "the store".

When it comes to tattooing, the process is even more challenging as it carries the weight of consequence. Always improvising, Mouse hunts and breaks down CD players for motors, wires, and whatever else is useful. The needle-making process starts off with a spring from the CD player or a pen, which is burned until it is malleable enough to straighten out and sharpen. Ink is created from mouthwash and water mixed with scraped-off powder from the bottom of the metal toilets. The lengthy technical process only heightens the risk of he and his cellmate losing privileges and supplies since, of course, tattooing is strictly prohibited.

A Vision from the Inside tells a tragically beautiful and vivid story of a man struggling to make the best of his life, despite being restricted in so many ways. With the certain knowledge that he will be imprisoned for the rest of his life, Mouse's art is the only thing that keeps him sane. Thankfully, his talent has escaped the prison walls and he is currently recognized and respected by tattooers and artists such as Jack Rudy and Franco Vescovi, who discovered Mouse's art and helped share it with the world.

Softcover. 80 pages. Measures 8 1/2" X 11"

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