GJ Willis' Art Notes

The Adventures and Misadventures of a Neer Do Well Artist Living in Baltimore.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

I am a visual artist and writer living in Baltimore. I don't have any artist friends. Frankly, artists scare me, there so darn flaky. The above picture is either of me or proof that I'm a pretty decent artist. My goal is to be a self sufficient artist, whereas I wouldn't have to do something else in the day in order to eke out an existence. I also like to attend various cultural events around town. I go to plays, the symphony, etc. Also, I have Asperger's Syndrome. I found this out recently and it has explained a heck of a lot as to why I am as I am.

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Saturday, June 16, 2001

June 5, 2001 to June 9, 2001

thats sugarcane that tasted good thats freezing rain thats what you could c’mon c’mon no one can see you cry

Imitation of Life - REM (Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe)

Nothing terribly spectacular or earth shattering happened this week. Almost everyday we had overtime at work. Which meant that I painted while half sleepy and worked half sleepy. I’m thinking about buying some more Ginseng to keep awake.

As far as my auctions are going I am sitting on pins and needles hoping more people will look at them. If no one bids on anything that’s ok. In the long run it’s not the bids that count it’s the number of hits. I live for the hits baby!

The only major highlight this week was that I finally picked up my cd’s from the post office that I bought online at My new cd’s are REM’s Reveal and Depeche Mode’s Exciter.

I’m a big fan of Depeche Mode but I can’t seem to get into their new cd. The grooves are too slow. I hope they come up with more upbeat dance music in the future. The whole cd is like a funeral dirge. It does’nt make me wanna dance. It makes me wanna sit back and slowly get stoned. I’m thinking about putting there cd up for auction. It’s not any fun!! I don’t know maybe I should listen to it some more to get used to it. Besides, there coming to my neck of the woods in early July.

I really like the new REM cd. Then again I am biased, I’m an REM fanatic. I’m addicted to them!! I own every REM cd that ever came out. I even have there UP cd. I don’t understand why Up was’nt big. I think it would have been bigger if they had released Lotus as their first single instead of that dreadful Daysleeper song. Also they should have released “Why not Smile”, as a single. I hope that they tour more in the future. I’d hate it if they turned into a studio band. I have’nt seen there latest music video because I can’t afford cable. I had a choice I could either pay for my internet service or cable. I opted for the internet. Maybe one day when I make enough money I can have internet and cable service at the same time.

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Monday, June 04, 2001

Monday June 4, 2001

There's no Business! Like Show Business! Like no Business I know ! Everything About It Is Appealing! Everything the blah blah will allow!

Today it was a miracle I was on time for work. We also had no overtime today. Hallellujau!!! Today I primarily worked on a large painting ok, ok it's semi large...11x14. I am thinking of donating it for a charity auction. It has a China Town theme to it. It's kind of a first for me because I’m attempting for the first time ever to paint perspective. Sure, I’ve drawn perspective many a times but I’ve never painted it! What I’m working on is a street scene in San Francisco's China Town with a beautiful asian woman wearing sunglasses strolling down the street. Hey, let's face it it would'nt be my work if there was'nt my version of a beautiful chick or a studly guy in it. I feel uncomfortable doing a straight landscape. I wonder what happened to the people there’s gotta be people in it!! If i see no people i wonder where did they all go? Was there some major tragedy that occured? I got to put people in my work because I like people more than buildings.

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Sunday June 3, 2001

Our love is like water pinned down and abused for being strange Our love is no other than me alone for me all day

All Over You - Ed Kowalczyk (Live)

Today I got up out of bed and painted again. I guess I’m on a roll! I’m thinking of doing other paintings like Egyptian Nubian Queen, which I have up for sale this week. I really like that black background coupled with the bright yellow window box and the lady in the center. I also dig that quasi Egyptian theme. I guess it all depends on the amount of hits the painting gets. If it gets a lot then I’ll perceive that as a green light to do do others in that style.

Today my boyfriend and I went out to see Moulin Rouge at the The Charles theatre which I have dubbed the hippie theater. I call it that because of the bohemian clientele that it draws. I like to go there ofen to see art house movies.

At first I found the movie to be overwhelmingly bombastic and loud but it grew on me. The sound and fury calmed down when Ewan McGregor’s character finally met Nicole Kidman’s character.

Personally, I was really drawn to visual style of the movie. There were so many eye popping colors! When I think of this movie I will always think of the bright reds and golds that filled the screen with life. I loved the costumes and sets in this movie. I’m sure this movie has a lock for the Oscar for best set and Costume Design. In a since it made me understand why my former supervisor at Center Stage cried and had to leave when she saw the set to August Wilson’s, Jitney during the dress rehearsal. She later told us that she had to leave because the sets were so beautiful. She had wished that she had had a hand in creating them. I thought she was being silly and foolish but now in a way I understand...

I will always remember the way that the characters had a knack for quoting songs. My favorite musical number in the movie was “Like a Virgin”, it was simply hilarious! I also liked the scene when McGregor and Kidman are up on the roof singing a medley of love songs that included, All You Need is Love -The Beatles, (This Is) Your Song - Elton John, and Silly Love Songs - Paul McCartney, among others. The semi- theme song of the movie was Elton John’s (This Is)Your Song. I’m sure that with all the exposure that Elton has gotten from this movie he will finally be able to buy another mansion.

Seeing this movie has made me realize that I miss being in the business.

link | posted by gail at 11:29 PM | 0 comments

Saturday June 2, 2001

A woman came up to me and said/”I’d like to poison your mind/with wrong ideas that appeal to you/though I am not unkind”

Whistling in the Dark - John Flansburgh & John Linnell (They Might Be Giants)

I got out of bed today and simply started painting. I wanted to catch up on the time I missed this week due to working overtime at my day job. Also, I was trying to finish up two 11x14 paintings I wanted to put up for sale for the ebsq, In the Style of.... art show which opens up at 6pm west coast time. This would mean that I would have have everything completed scanned and online by 9pm, my time. The two paintings Patrick Nagel copies that I plan on contributing I have dubbed Patrick’s #1 Lady and Patrick’s Lady 2.All the paintings I planned on putting up for sale were completed by 7pm that night. I quickly scanned the smaller 9x12 pieces that were not related to show.

Since I figured I had plenty of time and it is a big pain to scan large paintings in little sections then cut and paste them together in Photoshop. I decided instead to photograph the two Nagel copies with a digital camera I got for Christmas. You see I’m the type of person when I get something high tech I like to immediatly try it out without reading the instructions. After doing this I get frustrated and put it away six months later. This is exactly the same process that I took with the scanner I got two years. I figured my 6 month exile from touching the new toy was over. I got out the instruction manual and learned how the camera worked.

At this point I should point out that I’m not a photographer and have never owned a digital camera in my life. By his time it’s around 7:45. I figure I still have plenty of time to shoot the pictures and have them up by 9:00. Besides, how long could it possibly take to photograph paintings? You just aim and click. Boy was I wrong!! It seemed like every picture I took was not up to par. I had to constantly go back and adjust the camera and lighting until everything was just right. I think I took about 200 pictures to try to get my technique down. In the end the pictures were not showing as much detail as I could get with the scanner. The best thing I could think to do was to give in and just do the old cut and paste with my scanner. I did’nt completey finish until after midnight sometime when I listed everything up on eBay. In the future I do plan to use my camera but only for really, really large pieces.

link | posted by gail at 11:23 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday May 29, 2001 to Friday June 1, 2001

cease to resist, giving my goodbye drive my car into the ocean you’ll think i’m dead, but i sail away on a wave of mutilation a wave a wave

Wave of Mutilation - Frank Black (The Pixies)

All this week we had overtime which meant that my painting time was extremely limited. I was late for work on Tuesday and Thursday I was late because the Light rail train was delayed. Overall, this week I have felt sleep deprived. I had two highlights this work week, a new plant and a new cubicule display.

I finally scored a Chlorophytum comosum vittatum (spider plant) which believe it or not I got off of eBay for just 9 bucks! It can retail in my town for anywhere from 15 to 20 dollars. Needless to say I was quiet happy when it arrived. It even had offshoots growing on it! The only reason why I decided to bid on this particular plant was that the seller lived in Delaware which is about an hour away from Maryland. When the plant arrived I quickly repotted it and it is now sitting by my window. All I need now is a tall plant stand for it to sit on or maybe I could install a plant hanger on the ceiling.

I finally redecorated my cubicule shelf. I was getting tired of looking at my Easter/Spring display. My doll display consisted of my Brooke Shields doll in a green southern belle dress complete with one of those big floppy hats with flowers on it. Along with her on the shelf was the mustachedJamal doll wearing a yellow suit with a shiny gold bow tie and cummberbund. Jamal is unique in that he came from the World of Shani (prounounced SHAW-NEE) doll line that Mattel put out during the 80's. The World of Shani was a doll line that was aimed at African Americans. The line featured dolls representing the various skin tones that are evident in the African American community. In the center of my display was an Easter bunny seated on a miniature whicker chair.

This time for the month of June I did a bridal display featuring a Black Barbie and Ken doll as bride and groom. Black Skipper serves as the flower girl in a green floral dress. The maid of honor is Scary Spice of the Spice Girls in a long green satin gown finished in gold brocade. The best man was again the mustached Jamal doll. The wedding guests are Kristi Yamaguchi in a tight pink gown that flared out around the knees. One of my co-workers told me that back in her day they called that look a Carmen Jones dress. Kristi’s date is an asian male doll from the Disney movie Mulan. I took his hair out of the ceremonial ponytail and now he has long shoulder length hair.He is wearing a black suit which I borrowed from one of my Dan Akroyd Blues Brothers dolls. He looks really cool. So far no one has complained about my semi monthly celebrity doll diorama’s. I’ve been doing them since I started working there two years ago. It all started with my Drew Carey and Mimi doll display. For July/August I plan on doing a display with bikini clad dolls complete with beach balls and sunglasses. Somewhere I probably I have a sun tan Malibu Barbie stashed away.....

link | posted by gail at 7:01 PM | 0 comments

Monday May 28, 2001

so I ran faster but it caught me here yes my loyalties turned like my ankle in the seventh grade running after BILLY running after the rain these precious things let them bleedlet them wash away these precious things let them break their hold over mehe said you’re an ugly girl but I like the way you play and I died but I thanked him

Precious Things - Tori Amos

Today is Memorial Day and it’s rained the entire weekend. The sun has peeked out every now and then to be chased away by water falling from the sky. I did a little painting today but not much. I’m dreading going back to work tommorrow. No particuar reason I’m just starting to enjoy the feel of kicking back and being lazy. On the radio I listened to the local oldies station annual Memorial Day countdown. I was surprised to hear an early Santana song in the top ten another suprise in the top 10 was Elton John’s Crockadile Rock. Usually, you can count on The Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction and Yesterday by the Beatles vieing for the number one spot. I guess this odd change of events has to do with the Oldies station addition of 70’s music. They don’t play fun Georgio Moroder disco stuff, instead they play unoffensive fluff like Captain and Tennille along with the usual 50’s, 60’s music..

link | posted by gail at 6:35 PM | 0 comments

Sunday May 27, 2001

i don’t want to come back down from this cloud taken me all this time to find out what i need and i’m doing fine now there is no blame only shame when you beg you just complain more i come more i try

Comedown - (Gavin Rossdale) Bush

I told my boyfriend about yesterday’s events. He then quickly told me that I should have told him sooner because he would have gladly given my nephew the Genesis that he got for Christmas. He told me that he had only played it a few times during Christmas. I then immediately called up my sister and told her that my boyfriend was willing to give her son his Genesis. She then asked me how much he wanted for it. I told her I did’nt know and would call him back. When I called my boyfriend back he was angry that I had told my sister that he wanted to give his game system away. I caught him finally!!! He’s the type of person who say’s things like that after the fact when he knows no one can call him on it. You know like if you twist your ankle or something and have to stay off your feet he’ll say something like, that’s too bad I was going to surprise you and take you out to dinner or some other place that sounds fantastic that you can not prove or disprove he was going to do.

link | posted by gail at 6:32 PM | 0 comments

Saturday May 26, 2001

This circus is falling down on it’s knees The big top is crumbling down It’s raining in Baltimore fifty miles east Where you should be, no one’s around Ineed a phone call I need a raincoat I need big love I need a phone call

Raining in Baltimore-(Adam Duritz) Counting Crowes

It was raining like cats and dogs outside when my brother Carlos called me up at 9am to ask me when I was coming over my sister’s house to bring my half of the money for my nephew’s birthday present. He told me that they can’t make a move until I come over there. When I finally got there at 3 in the afternoon my brother was fast asleep with his head back snoring away in a living room chair. They (my sister, nephew, niece, and cousin) did everything they could to wake him up. They called his name, shook him, poured water on him ,slammed the door, even pried open his eyes to wake him. Nothing it seemed could wake him. He was like the Rasputin of sleep. I later learned that he came over my sister’s house straight from working a double shift and had washed down his allergy medicine with vodka. In between snoring he made an odd little hiccup sound. Needless to say Carlos was out like a light. He did’nt wake up until later that night.

It was kind of odd to find my cousin Kip over my sister’s house. To be quiet honest I’m a little afraid of him. He’s kind of like the official black sheep of the family. Whenever I got in trouble with bullies at school I would simply tell them I was Kip’s cousin and they would immediately leave me alone no questions asked. It was like my own little magical mantra against bullies. If you have’nt guessed it by now Kip is on the shady side and he knows people. My father would often complain that he did’nt know why people went into that line of work. He would say, “You don’t get no retirement benefits or anything. You got nothing to show for it when you get old.” Anyway my little nephew has become quiet taken with his outlaw cousin and the stories that he tells. So much that he insists that Kip come along with us to buy the Playstation. When I told my Dad he simply rolled his eyes at the idea.

In the end my nephew decided on getting a Sega Genesis instead of a Playstation 2. This was much to the chagrin of his other sister Alexis. Alexis had her heart set on a Playstation 2 in the house. She wanted it mainly because you can play DVD’s and cd’s on it along with games. She said it’s not only a game it’s an entertainment system! Alexis is a skinny 18 year old college freshman who’s into clothes and talking endlessly on her cell phone. She has one requirement for the summer job that she is looking for and that is that it be one where she can look good all day.

The reason my little nephew flip-flopped was because the Genesis was on sale used for 70 bucks and he could pocket the rest of his birthday loot on joysticks game cards, additional games, and whatever he pleased. When we got to the mall we learned that they were sold out and would’nt be getting another shipment until tommorrow. My nephew who was feeling like King of the World was a little upset about this snag in his day. Kip reminded him that he was lucky because he knew that the Genesis was coming to him besides there were probably kids out there still playing with Atari’s. We all laughed at what Kip said and headed back in the rain over my sister’s place to have his 11th birthday party.

link | posted by gail at 6:28 PM | 0 comments

Friday May 25, 2001

the creature in the sky got sucked in a hole now there’s a hole in the sky and the ground’s not cold and if the ground’s not cold everything is gonna burn we’ll all take turns i’ll get mine, too this monkey’s gone to heaven

Monkey Gone to Heaven - Frank Black (The Pixies)

Yesterday, I finally got around to asking my nephew what game he wanted for his Playstation. Figuring of course that I could quickly pick it up somewhere and give it to him for his birthday. However, it turns out that he does’nt want a game for his Playstation but instead he wants a Playstation 2. Egad!!! I heard that they sold out of them around Christmastime other than that I know next to nothing about them. So today I went out in the rain after working overtime to a K-mart to see if I could price the game to get a handle on how much they cost. I don’t know the combination of being sleepy in a window less K-mart warped my since of time. I did’nt get out of there until 9pm and still was no wiser about how much they cost. Later that night my brother Carlos called up and told me that it would be a good idea if we all ( me, dad, Carlos) chipped in $100 each toward my nephew's Playstation 2. Leaping Lizards!! $100 each!! That’s a total of $300 dollars!! I NEVER got anything that expensive a present as a kid. I guess it's a new day out there......

link | posted by gail at 12:28 AM | 0 comments

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