The two are indistinguishable. When I was a kid all I wanted to do was illustrate stories. I had a fairly good knack for drawing people, and I wrote daily in my diary, a lifelong activity. I loved poetry and wrote and drew every chance
I could get. I married at twenty and had two children before I was 24, but I never stopped drawing and writing. And I always wanted to sculpt. I never considered I was good enough to publish or sell anything, and when my second marriage
ended in 1990 I made a vow to begin a career and see where it would take me. I was 47.
I took an art class
(photo #1) at the Key West Community College, and sculpted a piece of my "soon to be married daughter and her husband to be" for their wedding present. It won entry in the student art show, and for the first time
I felt I had enough talent and confidence to take on a bigger project.
I moved into a cathedral ceiling studio on Duval Street, the main drag in Key West, and spent a year creating an interactive performance art gallery called (photo #2) "Goddesses". A visual environment collaged from my life's story, I used fashion, music and live-mic monologues to channel the six greek
goddesses: Aphrodite, Demeter, Hera, Persephone, Artemis and Athena. To rave reviews, I continued, made little money, was diagnosed with throat cancer from years of smoking and drinking, and had to tear
After 8 weeks of debilitating radiation, I closed the gallery, sold everything from my past and moved into a small one bedroom apartment, where I used an abandoned garage to recycle significant memories into art. Someone
donated an old 1975 Mercedes Benz (photo #3) that was going to the dump, so, exhausted and angry, I began sculpting,
painting, polishing, modifying, and returning her to some form of worth and glory. ( My former husband collected Mercedes) At a presentable stage of exhibition, I placed it on Duval Street for visitors to enjoy, and proceeded to spiral
towards death. But before arriving, I managed to have a solo show of all previous works, which included paintings, sculptures, and "Unchain My Love", my first
ArtCar, which was leased for exhibition by Daimler/Chrysler in 2004, andl later purchased for permanent exhibition in their museum in Stuttgart, Germany.(photo # 5)
I had a laryngectomy at Johns Hopkins on January 19, 1995, relocated from Key West to Frederick, Maryland, where I now live. I spent two years and 16 surgeries recovering, spent months on feeding tubes, good pain killers, and turned a three story
apartment building into a house of belief that would spiritually support my healing. It served as inspiration for author, Kelee Katillac and her book, "House
of Belief" (photo #4) and was given a notable place in her endeavor.
Shortly after recovering (speaking again electronically with an electro-larynx called a "Servox") I returned to Key West, I got clean and sober in a few
twelve-step programs and during the first five years, painted the Twelve-Step spiritual principles of recovery, for adults, as well as 12-Step illustrations for teens.( photos 6 -7 )
After completing the paintings, I devoted my time to writing a documentary for middle-school students about addiction to nicotine, which was titled "DreamStealers". It was professionally
filmed and funded by the Frederick County Health Department, and is distributed nationwide and is availible through my personal website, www.geraldineolloyd.com. In 2004 I was diagnosed with a Stage III lung
cancer, and treatment, although brutal, was successful.
Other art and documentary related projects evolved, culminating in a personal triumph over the tobacco industry, as I was
able to tell my story through Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, who testified on my behalf before Congress in the summer of 2009, which helped to influence passage of F.D.A. regulation over the industry.
The remaining years have been spent working on my second ArtCar, writing a column for my local paper, "The Frederick News Post", being a movie star in my agent Harrod Blank's new movie, "Automorphosis"
Each creative phase has been an amazing learning process and preparation for currently writing and illustrating "The Mystical Diaries of Darla Devine" Part autobiographical, her journey is mine, had I known the power of the divine feminine when I was a teenager. Where she'll end
up is not yet determined. (Photo #8)