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Tales of the Pen: Big House Clothing
8/15/06 - news


Big House Clothing

From the mind of Adrian Nieto comes Big House Clothing, a line conceived behind bars which is quickly making a name for itself. While serving four years for racketeering, Nieto considered developing a clothing line from his cell, but was discouraged at the possibility of not earning his freedom to fulfill his desire. Shuffled between correctional facilities, the artist began fighting his federal case in MDC L.A. for 18 months before being shipped to San Bernadino, Santa Ana, Kern and then finally Lompoc.

Nieto used his business aspirations and sketches to keep him focused on his release during his four year bid.

Because the large size of his case involved his indictment along with those of over 30 other people, he would eventually spend 26 months in the hole, restricted to his cell for 23 hours of each day. When asked about his solitude in the SHU program, Nieto explains that leaving his cell was a rarity. "They're supposed to give you one hour of rec time a day but we probably got rec twice a week" Adrian explained to "They gotta handcuff you, strip search you, its a lot of work. They would come at five in the morning, sometimes you're tired or sleeping, so a lot of times I went without going to rec three months."

Nieto's goal while incarcerated was to create a clothing line that represented the lifestyle that prisoners go through, originally using shortened pencils and soft pens to sketch art for his nieces and later more serious images which embodied the life of those doing time. When he was finally acquitted on specific charges, others were refiled and he was given five years. Because he had already done a four year stretch, he was released, and within months began working on starting his business. After legally setting up his company, he enlisted the aid of graphic artists such as Fonzi, a regular in the lowriding community, to convert his sketches into digital artwork that was print worthy. The original sketches were Nieto's work, but he began using artwork by artists such as Tattoo Tony or friends that were still on the inside.

"Eventually I would like to see different artists," Nieto replied when asked about submissions from other incarcerated artists. "There's a lot of talent and good ideas, something where they can see their stuff on shirts on clothing."

Nieto stresses that Big House Clothing shows love to prisoners locked up that may never have the opportunity to see daylight, that the clothing line sold online and carried in stores from Texas to New York will remind them that they aren't forgotten while encouraging others to avoid a lifestyle that will lead to imprisonment. He further explained that his brand has been carried as far away as Japan, and that prison is a struggle that is similar worldwide.

"There's something behind it, its not just a clothing line where we thought up a name" stated Nieto. "Its a brand that has a foundation. It means something."

Big House Clothing online store     


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