Billy Foster (1941 - 2005)

     Born in Johnson Branch, West Virginia in 1941, the artist discovered his talent for drawing at an early age by drawing pictures on sheetrock walls.

     Although he went down the wrong path in life and was incarcerated at Moundsville State Penitentiary at the young age of 18, he never forgot his passion for his artwork.

     In the 28 years that he spent in prison, he created and sold thousands of his pen and ink drawings and oil paintings.  Billy used his drawings to escape the life behind bars.  He has stated that as he was creating a picture, "I lived in that picture and not behind the bars that I had to call home." 

     Moundsville State Penitentiary, which opened in 1866, was officially closed and turned into a museum in 1995.  Today you can still view six of his most renown paintings on the walls at the prison.  We will have prints of these paintings available for purchase in the near future, as well as other artwork that he created in prison and during the remaining days of his life.