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When I first started working at Inked nearly a decade ago I was taken aback by just how much mail we received from prison. Even back then the art of actually sending out letters was quickly disappearing, so the very concept of having a pile of "jail mail" come in every week seemed completely unfathomable. But the letters kept coming and as I waded through them I was always amazed by how many awesome drawings inmates would send to us. 

If you know your tattoo history, this shouldn't be remotely surprising. Tattoos and inmates have always gone together like peas and carrots. If it wasn't for innovations made by artists in prison the explosion of black-and-grey tattoo likely wouldn't have ever occurred. 

Art for Redemption aims to not just show off the work of some talented artists currently behind bars, but to also help provide a marketplace for them to sell their work. "Art for Redemption is dedicated to harnessing the transformative and liberating power of the arts to reimagine justice," founder Buck Adams says. 

Part of this goal is being realized through an NFT marketplace launched in partnership with the eco-friendly FLOW blockchain with Blockparty. 

"Flow was designed from the ground up as a foundation for internet-scale protocols and applications that also provide exceptional user experience," Adams explains. "This helps keep costs affordable for transactions and creates an easy to use customer experience. Using this technology we are able to give you something that can't be copied: ownership of the work. To put it in terms of physical art collecting: anyone can buy a Picasso print. But only one person can own the original. AFR is working to use innovative ways of selling art to enable our sales to any collector and opening up our art to huge marketplaces for our artist that are incarcerated and do not have access to this technology."

Art for Redemption has launched their very first NFT auction. The work is a collage of art created by incarcerated prisoners that was originally put together for a mural in Denver, but has now been reimagined as an NFT. 

You can check out the auction here. 

Below you'll find some more of the impressive pieces of art collected by Art for Redemption.