HATCHED IN PRISON at Ricco Maresca, 2016

Ghost Communication, 2014   Ghost communication is an unseen method that the prisoners use to communicate.. through toilet bowl plumbing, hand signals, coded letters and language, etc, The prisoners run the prison. Many prisoners have jobs in there such Admin clerks, kitchen work, laundry, welding etc.. You name it. so passing weapons, drugs and messages through the system was almost impossible to stop. . San Quentin was like a small city. On one egg written in the handcuffs are the words .. "The yard is too quiet.." This was an eerie sign that meant there will be a hit on a person or persons on the yard... The hit would be coordinated thru Ghost Communication. Most of us knew of the hit prior to yard time... except for the guards and the targeted prisoner(s) of course...

Ghost Communication, 2014

Ghost communication is an unseen method that the prisoners use to communicate.. through toilet bowl plumbing, hand signals, coded letters and language, etc, The prisoners run the prison. Many prisoners have jobs in there such Admin clerks, kitchen work, laundry, welding etc.. You name it. so passing weapons, drugs and messages through the system was almost impossible to stop. . San Quentin was like a small city. On one egg written in the handcuffs are the words .. "The yard is too quiet.." This was an eerie sign that meant there will be a hit on a person or persons on the yard... The hit would be coordinated thru Ghost Communication. Most of us knew of the hit prior to yard time... except for the guards and the targeted prisoner(s) of course...

Sanctuary, 2014   About how most convicts are never free.. Doesn’t matter if they are on the streets or in prison, they are never free from the fear to survive.. It's only a matter of time when they will be back in the joint or on the streets. Both are terrifying.. At the time, I too.. couldn’t find my sanctuary.

Sanctuary, 2014

About how most convicts are never free.. Doesn’t matter if they are on the streets or in prison, they are never free from the fear to survive.. It's only a matter of time when they will be back in the joint or on the streets. Both are terrifying.. At the time, I too.. couldn’t find my sanctuary.

Jargon, 2014   The prison staff screens and censors all incoming and outgoing letters to inmates.. This is to prevent contraband (usually drugs hidden in stamp gum or between photos or greeting cards) from coming in and also to prevent any communications that would lead to illegal activity outside or within the prison walls.. So prisoners with bad intentions, would disguise their letters with poetry or jargon with hidden messages to get their message through..

Jargon, 2014

The prison staff screens and censors all incoming and outgoing letters to inmates.. This is to prevent contraband (usually drugs hidden in stamp gum or between photos or greeting cards) from coming in and also to prevent any communications that would lead to illegal activity outside or within the prison walls.. So prisoners with bad intentions, would disguise their letters with poetry or jargon with hidden messages to get their message through..

 
Gang Chart, 2015   It is to my understanding that most of the prisons in the US are not as racially segregated as California’s prisons. During my incarceration in the California prison system, races, for the most part.. did not mix.. In the California Prison System, there are 4 main races that are segregated by cells.. Whites, Blacks, Mexicans and Others… Although, there are several more gangs other than the ones that I’ve carved here on this egg, I’ve selected to carve two convicts from within each of those 4 races that stood out to me the most.. in mug shot form ( real names are rarely used in prison) along with the tattooed symbols I’ve seen during my incarceration.  Egg Mug shot general note: There are teardrops on some of the convicts’ mug shots. A tattoo of a teardrop at the outer edge of the eye has different meanings.. Depending on which race is wearing it, could mean:  1 teardrop = 1 to 5 years in prison or one teardrop for every person that they’ve killed.. A colored-in tear drop means murder.. a lined out teardrop, (not filled in with color) is attempted murder.. In prison, a teardrop as with any other unapproved tattoos will not be worn as decoration and that tattoo will be removed with consequences.

Gang Chart, 2015

It is to my understanding that most of the prisons in the US are not as racially segregated as California’s prisons. During my incarceration in the California prison system, races, for the most part.. did not mix.. In the California Prison System, there are 4 main races that are segregated by cells.. Whites, Blacks, Mexicans and Others… Although, there are several more gangs other than the ones that I’ve carved here on this egg, I’ve selected to carve two convicts from within each of those 4 races that stood out to me the most.. in mug shot form ( real names are rarely used in prison) along with the tattooed symbols I’ve seen during my incarceration.

Egg Mug shot general note: There are teardrops on some of the convicts’ mug shots. A tattoo of a teardrop at the outer edge of the eye has different meanings.. Depending on which race is wearing it, could mean:

1 teardrop = 1 to 5 years in prison or one teardrop for every person that they’ve killed.. A colored-in tear drop means murder.. a lined out teardrop, (not filled in with color) is attempted murder.. In prison, a teardrop as with any other unapproved tattoos will not be worn as decoration and that tattoo will be removed with consequences.

Tattoo, 2015   The motors used for the tattoo guns come from CD players, old cassette players. electric toothbrushes, clippers, etc.. Some prisons crack down pretty hard on tattoo guns. In this case the motors are smuggled in.. Sometimes thru the guards.. It's the ink making process that I think is the most interesting.. I would take a chess piece and melt it. Then, use a paper bag or the bottom of a stainless table and trap the smoke/soot.. Scrap off the soot and mix it with a lotion or shampoo (contains disinfectants) and presto.. tattoo ink..

Tattoo, 2015

The motors used for the tattoo guns come from CD players, old cassette players. electric toothbrushes, clippers, etc.. Some prisons crack down pretty hard on tattoo guns. In this case the motors are smuggled in.. Sometimes thru the guards.. It's the ink making process that I think is the most interesting.. I would take a chess piece and melt it. Then, use a paper bag or the bottom of a stainless table and trap the smoke/soot.. Scrap off the soot and mix it with a lotion or shampoo (contains disinfectants) and presto.. tattoo ink..

Reception: Fresh Fish   The images here depicts the process of the new inmate (fresh fish)...

Reception: Fresh Fish

The images here depicts the process of the new inmate (fresh fish)...

 
It’s Your Fault, 2014   It begins with my father.. and most of the prisoners’ fathers.. If you look closely at the father whipping the child, you’ll notice the child’s hair.. Sort of a Denis the Menace cut.. and as you continue on the next panels to the right, you’ll see that same haircut on a certain character in each panel… It’s the same guy progressing on to prison.. He gets whipped as a child.. becomes the bully, carries that behavior on to his own family (I never hit a woman in my life.. I was a boxer and couldn’t do that kind of damage to a woman… A lot of men in prison did.. Not me.. But I had to express this on the egg) Soon after, he falls into crime and faces the police on the streets then eventually.. the prison guards.. The whipping/beating became a part of their lives.. Sooner or later the beatings don’t hurt anymore and any punishment after that is futile. “Two hots and a cot..”

It’s Your Fault, 2014

It begins with my father.. and most of the prisoners’ fathers.. If you look closely at the father whipping the child, you’ll notice the child’s hair.. Sort of a Denis the Menace cut.. and as you continue on the next panels to the right, you’ll see that same haircut on a certain character in each panel… It’s the same guy progressing on to prison.. He gets whipped as a child.. becomes the bully, carries that behavior on to his own family (I never hit a woman in my life.. I was a boxer and couldn’t do that kind of damage to a woman… A lot of men in prison did.. Not me.. But I had to express this on the egg) Soon after, he falls into crime and faces the police on the streets then eventually.. the prison guards.. The whipping/beating became a part of their lives.. Sooner or later the beatings don’t hurt anymore and any punishment after that is futile. “Two hots and a cot..”

 
51/50 Dreams, 2015   51-50 is a police code for "crazy person on the loose" 51-50 is also a term inmates use to label the mentally ill convicts that have been medically cleared to roam in the general population in prison.. Most inmates/convicts don’t mess with the 51-50s.. They are unpredictable, at times acting with odd behaviors and keep to themselves and are better off left alone.. It's pretty eerie to see one of these guys sleeping.. I carved what I imagined what these guys dream about.

51/50 Dreams, 2015

51-50 is a police code for "crazy person on the loose" 51-50 is also a term inmates use to label the mentally ill convicts that have been medically cleared to roam in the general population in prison.. Most inmates/convicts don’t mess with the 51-50s.. They are unpredictable, at times acting with odd behaviors and keep to themselves and are better off left alone.. It's pretty eerie to see one of these guys sleeping.. I carved what I imagined what these guys dream about.

Chrysalis, 2014   The convicts that I chose to carve, I either actually knew and interacted with or mostly I knew of them.. "knew of them" because of the racial politics in mingling with them in prison prevented me from actually meeting them. There are so many characters in the joint.. So many with so many stories.. Some of the names on my eggs were changed.."to protect the guilty.." More so, I either dont remember the names or Im afraid they'll get offended without their permission (respect out of fear, I guess).. On this egg, for example..  ADOBO, his name is Julies.. He is a preacher in San Quentin (SQ).. a shot caller.. On the yard, he is still feared there..  HOLLYWOOD is in Jamestown State Prison.. Seen him on the yard, but never met him. Hollywood is his real prison name.. On this egg, he is making Pruno (a prison wine).. He makes the best.. I've had his wine..  PRADRINO.. I always saw him on the yard in (SQ).. always feeding the birds, Them birds always waited for him.. You cannot approach that old man.. He doesnt carry a shank (prison knife).. He just points his finger (as seen at the bottom of this egg) and things are taken care of..  SILENT.. The best tattoos I every laid eyes on.. Clean, bold work.. I wrote on the egg.. "Ink service by appt only". because his tattoos have been published in tattoo magazines thru parolees .. and have read that the person on the streets that wanted one from him had to commit a felony to get one..  MR PEABODY.. I never met this guy.. I saw this nerdy, little kid at Donavan State Prison.. playing chess with the most brutal looking convicts.. Apparently he pays for protection by sending money to the family of the convicts via his cyber network on the streets..

Chrysalis, 2014

The convicts that I chose to carve, I either actually knew and interacted with or mostly I knew of them.. "knew of them" because of the racial politics in mingling with them in prison prevented me from actually meeting them. There are so many characters in the joint.. So many with so many stories.. Some of the names on my eggs were changed.."to protect the guilty.." More so, I either dont remember the names or Im afraid they'll get offended without their permission (respect out of fear, I guess).. On this egg, for example..

ADOBO, his name is Julies.. He is a preacher in San Quentin (SQ).. a shot caller.. On the yard, he is still feared there..

HOLLYWOOD is in Jamestown State Prison.. Seen him on the yard, but never met him. Hollywood is his real prison name.. On this egg, he is making Pruno (a prison wine).. He makes the best.. I've had his wine..

PRADRINO.. I always saw him on the yard in (SQ).. always feeding the birds, Them birds always waited for him.. You cannot approach that old man.. He doesnt carry a shank (prison knife).. He just points his finger (as seen at the bottom of this egg) and things are taken care of..

SILENT.. The best tattoos I every laid eyes on.. Clean, bold work.. I wrote on the egg.. "Ink service by appt only". because his tattoos have been published in tattoo magazines thru parolees .. and have read that the person on the streets that wanted one from him had to commit a felony to get one..

MR PEABODY.. I never met this guy.. I saw this nerdy, little kid at Donavan State Prison.. playing chess with the most brutal looking convicts.. Apparently he pays for protection by sending money to the family of the convicts via his cyber network on the streets..

 
Manslaughter: New Fish, 2015   It's about a guy I met in Tracy State Prison. His name is Angel. He is half Filipino and half white.. He ran with us to avoid the white prison politics.. He was serving, I believe.. 8 years for accidentally killing a woman while driving under the influence of alcohol. Vehicular Homicide: Manslaughter.. He had no criminal record prior to the arrest.. Family man, a Christian and an alcoholic.. When I got there, he seemed out of place.. too nice of a guy.. He got picked on a lot.. Some of the Guamanians raped him.. After the second attempt, he fought back and ended up receiving another 3 years for assault on one of the Guamanian .. He got his respect and was never picked on again..  Yeah, Angel.. the guy with the glasses on the egg made friends with one of the Filipinos that didnt get along with the Guamanians.. That Filipino would be stepping over the lines if he spoke out against how Angel was being treated by the Guamanians since we were all Islanders.. So, in private he made Angel a 'shank' (prison made knife) for the next time it happened.. and to our surprise, Angel used the shank . The mystery was how the guards were at the right place at the right time of attack. and charges were filed against Angel.. No one ever found out who 'snitched' (talking to the prison authorities).. Everyone was suspect of everyone.. Snitches are dealt with in a brutal fashion..

Manslaughter: New Fish, 2015

It's about a guy I met in Tracy State Prison. His name is Angel. He is half Filipino and half white.. He ran with us to avoid the white prison politics.. He was serving, I believe.. 8 years for accidentally killing a woman while driving under the influence of alcohol. Vehicular Homicide: Manslaughter.. He had no criminal record prior to the arrest.. Family man, a Christian and an alcoholic.. When I got there, he seemed out of place.. too nice of a guy.. He got picked on a lot.. Some of the Guamanians raped him.. After the second attempt, he fought back and ended up receiving another 3 years for assault on one of the Guamanian .. He got his respect and was never picked on again..

Yeah, Angel.. the guy with the glasses on the egg made friends with one of the Filipinos that didnt get along with the Guamanians.. That Filipino would be stepping over the lines if he spoke out against how Angel was being treated by the Guamanians since we were all Islanders.. So, in private he made Angel a 'shank' (prison made knife) for the next time it happened.. and to our surprise, Angel used the shank . The mystery was how the guards were at the right place at the right time of attack. and charges were filed against Angel.. No one ever found out who 'snitched' (talking to the prison authorities).. Everyone was suspect of everyone.. Snitches are dealt with in a brutal fashion..

 
Naked, 2015   There is nothing more humiliating and demeaning than the "cavity check".. To be told to "squat and cough" so the guards can look up your anal cavity to make sure you aren't hiding any contraband up there.. "Lift em' up" is a guards' instruction to lift up your nut sack to make sure your not hiding anything under there either. This is done during your intake,.. before you enter the yard if a suspected riot is to occur... always after a visit... always during random cell raids... or some say whenever a guard just wants to mess with you.. Even some of the hardest convicts get irritated when they have to go though this routine. One of the images that I'll never forget was on the yard in SQ.. my first term..  I saw a small group of Nortenos escorting one of their own to the toilet.. then surrounding him (facing outwards) as he sat there doing his business in the middle of that yard.. I was told that it was a security measure to protect him from the Surenos (rival gang).. Sitting on the toilet was the best time to attack when he's most vulnerable .Also on this egg, there is a hand picking up a bar of soap.. Some use the term "dropping the soap".. as a joke.. Well, until you've been naked in a shower room with a bunch of naked convicts and you drop your soap bar... there is nothing funny about that.. Dont pick it up.. leave it there.. You bending down exposing your ass is like in invitation. Most of those men havent had sex in a long time.. Then, there are also the Trannys.. (transvestites) They dont mind dropping the soap, cavity checks or prancing around naked in their cells.

Naked, 2015

There is nothing more humiliating and demeaning than the "cavity check".. To be told to "squat and cough" so the guards can look up your anal cavity to make sure you aren't hiding any contraband up there.. "Lift em' up" is a guards' instruction to lift up your nut sack to make sure your not hiding anything under there either. This is done during your intake,.. before you enter the yard if a suspected riot is to occur... always after a visit... always during random cell raids... or some say whenever a guard just wants to mess with you.. Even some of the hardest convicts get irritated when they have to go though this routine. One of the images that I'll never forget was on the yard in SQ.. my first term..

I saw a small group of Nortenos escorting one of their own to the toilet.. then surrounding him (facing outwards) as he sat there doing his business in the middle of that yard.. I was told that it was a security measure to protect him from the Surenos (rival gang).. Sitting on the toilet was the best time to attack when he's most vulnerable .Also on this egg, there is a hand picking up a bar of soap.. Some use the term "dropping the soap".. as a joke.. Well, until you've been naked in a shower room with a bunch of naked convicts and you drop your soap bar... there is nothing funny about that.. Dont pick it up.. leave it there.. You bending down exposing your ass is like in invitation. Most of those men havent had sex in a long time.. Then, there are also the Trannys.. (transvestites) They dont mind dropping the soap, cavity checks or prancing around naked in their cells.

Cicada Nymphs, 2014   I like the idea that the Cicada Nymph stays burrowed underground 13 to 17 years before it emerges to mate.. It is unknown what takes place underground for all those years.. I relate this idea to how civilians on the outside view inmates serving very long sentences on the inside.. Folks on the outside dont know what we do on the inside.. If you look closely at the Cicadas, you'll see tiny human embryos in them.. I've never interacted with Betty or CO Dirty Dick (Dixon).. I've only seen them and know of them.. Both pretty scary... Mosco (Spanish word for fly), Diamond and Mauga (Samoan word for Mountain) I have interacted with them.. There are many many more..

Cicada Nymphs, 2014

I like the idea that the Cicada Nymph stays burrowed underground 13 to 17 years before it emerges to mate.. It is unknown what takes place underground for all those years.. I relate this idea to how civilians on the outside view inmates serving very long sentences on the inside.. Folks on the outside dont know what we do on the inside.. If you look closely at the Cicadas, you'll see tiny human embryos in them.. I've never interacted with Betty or CO Dirty Dick (Dixon).. I've only seen them and know of them.. Both pretty scary... Mosco (Spanish word for fly), Diamond and Mauga (Samoan word for Mountain) I have interacted with them.. There are many many more..