Artwork by a young Napier woman as she threw off the shackles of crime and prison will go under the hammer in a charity auction tonight.
The 10 paintings by Karma Cripps are from a collection bought from her over the years by lawyer Philip Jensen.
They will be auctioned at his Station St Chambers, across the road from the Napier Police Station where Ms Cripps spent many nights in her troubled teenaged years. The auctioneer will be Mr Jensen's neighbouring tenant, Napier MP Chris Tremain.
It was Mr Jensen who harnessed the talent of a young woman who had no formal art training, and who, according to the 25-year-old artist, "didn't make high school".
"They are good pictures," Mr Jensen said. "And she's a good artist."
When he became aware of her skills, he told her it was a better way of making a living than stealing and going to jail.
"It worked," he said, and she hasn't been in trouble for stealing since.
With a grin emerging from a shy persona, she proudly says it's "four years" since she was last in prison.
Items at the auction will be linked to different charities, including the Arohata Women's Support Network developed in Napier to help female prisoners and their families.. Also benefiting from the auction starting at 5pm is Restorative Justice.