NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – An inmate is using his talents to brighten up the inside of the state penitentiary and bring some joy to those who are incarcerated.

“It really is amazing. It helps us to beautify our facility and make them more inviting,” said unit manager Angel Lucero.

For the past few months, the state penitentiary has gotten a little makeover.

“I’m trying to make myself a better person, coping with the things I’ve done in the past, but overall, painting has really taken me out of here,” said Ray Buck, a New Mexico inmate.

“When Mr. Buck came in, he advised me that he’s a muralist, and he told me about some of his work so I assigned him to the job,” said Lucero.

So far, he’s done a piece for the deputy warden there as well as some smaller projects, including a mural for Lucero.

Buck said he likes to do Southwest work, and sometimes, people request that type of art from him.

“[The other inmates] walk by, and they like to look at it and tell him how great it looks, so it’s exciting for everybody just to see different works of art go up inside instead of just the plain white or grey walls,” said Lucero.

Buck sees and hears how his work is appreciated.

“I think it’s helping them out too in a lot of ways just like it helps me out, seeing something that’s different, something that reminds them of themselves,” said Buck. “It brings them back home and stuff like that. Some of them even said they miss home.”

Buck is compensated for his work, and he said his work could take anywhere from a few weeks to a little more than a month to complete.