Just ask Steve Lane.
Lane, an Owensboro artist who owns Go Big Time Art, spent a 17-year prison sentence discovering and developing his talent. Since his release in November 2016, he has painted numerous murals across western Kentucky.
His latest work can be seen at Ninth and Hickman streets — wrapped around the side and front of St. Benedict’s Women & Family Services day shelter.
Mixed in with Owensboro images, such as the Blue Bridge, a mandolin and barbecue kettle, Lane painted black-and-white vignettes of people in need. At the mural’s start, their faces show signs of hopelessness and despair. By the time passersby reach the painting’s end, the portraits transform to comfort and joy.
The mural reads: “Restoring Lives ... one life at a time.”
“That’s what this place does,” Lane said of St. Benedict’s, which operates a shelter for homeless men, a crisis pregnancy home and a day shelter for families. “ ... My life is about restoration.”
This muralist discovered his talent while drawing and painting miniatures in prison. In his cell, Lane would glue his mini paintings on cardstock and send them to family members.
Lane is quick to say he is not a self-taught artist. He is “God-taught.”
Alone in his cell, Lane also taught himself how to scale pocket-sized images into giant pieces of art.
A prison chaplain was the first person to recognize Lane’s talent and urged officials at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange to let Lane paint a mural alongside Louisville artist Carole Jackson Powell. When other wardens saw the work, they wanted paintings done in their facilities, Lane said.
In 2012, Lane was transferred to Green River Correctional Complex in Central City for that purpose. He painted murals inside each dorm, exercise room and the gymnasium.
“It doesn’t even look like an institution anymore,” Lane said.
Those prison murals filled his art portfolio and gave him the confidence to start Go Big Time Art.
Besides St. Benedict’s mural, Lane’s art can be found in Island, Reo and Madisonville.
Harry Pedigo, St. Benedict’s executive director, felt the nonprofit’s new facility at Ninth and Hickman streets was a perfect location to place a positive community message.
“I knew it needed to represent hope and what we do inside these walls,” Pedigo said.
A friend and colleague told him about Lane, who painted the St. Benedict’s mural at a 50% discounted rate. Most companies give the nonprofit a 10% to 20% discount, Pedigo said.
“It was a way for him to help St. Benedict’s and a way for the nonprofit to help him,” Pedigo said.
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, firstname.lastname@example.org.