Artist Gerald, 68
It all started in high school when I first started really noticing girls. We had a subscription to Jet Magazine. I started drawing the centerfold models, to the point that they appeared like photos. However, once I started having my own family, I didn’t have time any longer. Life demanded that I had to work and provide for them. In 1998 I made the biggest mistake in my life…murder. Upon being incarcerated, I didn’t want to be involved with the world of darkness I had been sentenced to be submerged among. So I went back to drawing. It was a skill I still had. I began drawing portraits of inmates’ families. The money came fast and I started to lose interest after a while. Why? Because it became a job. I had lost the enjoyment. It wasn’t until I arrived at San Quentin in 2011 and was introduced to the Arts in Corrections program, there the spark was re-lit. Painting was something new and challenging. I began to vision a more technical skilled level of expression of all aspects. I found that as long as I did art to please myself, and not place a price on it, I could get lost, to the point that I would escape a few hours in my creation. I have never limited myself to just one form. Watercolors are my least favorite. However, one which I am learning to use now. It’s quickly becoming my favorite. Acrylics are what I generally use as of right now. Yet my main inspiration has come from an inmate, Bruce Fowler. Watching his interpretations unfold on canvas, showed me that within these walls world class art is possible. Others have given me the tools within San Quentin’s Arts in Corrections, too many to name. Yet each canvas has no time limits, I paint until I am happy with the outcome. It’s just like a child, you have good and bad, yet they are yours, and you try to do your best when introducing them to the world. I’ve sent a few in order to show the variety of expressions I wish to project when I paint.
1) The Demure woman looking over her shoulder; I wanted to project her life.
2) A little prayer. I want people to feel that we are not alone, we each have bad days.
3) The South Carolina woman, by E. Hopper. It just caught my attention to a past rural life – style I lived in Texas.
4) Birds are my attachment to another species of intelligence most people never see.
5) Prison Profile, was my concept for how in-humane prison treatment is and has made man a caged beast.
6) Then there is History, such as my painting of Pompei (illegible), similar to inmates of today at each other’s throats just to survive, if they live, they go to the board.
7) However, I do have a playful side and when I do, I express it in the form of Betty Boop etc.
8) Society clown – this was based on how gangs utilize colors for separation. Yet the star behind the ear is how I see society in the background not being concerned…as long as they are killing each other.
9) Kaepernick and protesters all fall on the same issue of unfairness.
10) Lady Liberty dwells on the environment and how big business could care less as long as money is the bottom line between Russia and the United States eventually the environment will be completely destroyed. Anyway, Diane and Juan; these are some of the thoughts that come into focus when I am painting.
I will never be a one-dimensional painter. Why? Because this is not a one-dimensional world.