Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Let’s get specific; most of those years were in Wilkinsburg, which is (was) like a whole planet. The idea of my childhood has an accordion like proximity; the details are known but feel so distant, while the emotions are smack up against my “heart.” I can feel them and reel them in and sometimes choke up just connecting to them.

As with most anyone, where you were born and raised will definitely shape who you are in this world. However, I’ve been in DC for over 20 years, so this place has its indelible “chocolate-city” ink etched into my skin. I am an amalgamation for sure. 

I. am. a. hyper-creative. It’s a term I coined a few years back, so I’m sure it won’t travel beyond this blog. It simply means I spend at least seventy-five percent of my waking moments making something. Even if that means editing for a client in my own special way, I’m doing it. I’d rather spend all my creative time on my ideas but the financing of life has been a serious challenge heretofore.

I do “video” because it allows me to find some comfort and focus in my distracted nature. I can grab a camera and film (or photograph) something, edit it, animate something, write a story, record or manipulate audio, create graphics, among the many facets to a digital world. I still like to sketch, paint, build things, tear things apart (for a better understanding of that thing), debate, and play basketball… but “video” is a sure bet that I’ll be focused on doing something constructive.

Some thoughts on my creative movement, written some time ago:

I use multiple mediums in my creative movement, from the digital realm—video, photography and design— to ink drawing, and acrylic painting. This wide array of mediums also reflects my general sentiments about the world, as a very grey, multifaceted and often murky place. Nothing is black and white, simply shades of grey.

I connect deeply to the questions around the meaning of life so my work is often searching for it. I rarely do so in an intellectual way, but more so in a tangible way a system of pushing and pulling at the strings that move nature and logic.

While I’ve had the website gemalism.com for about twenty years, I’m putting my efforts into this thing as a mad-rush to get a story out. It’s one that consumes me, or has consumed me for the last year and a half. But now I have some idea in regards to what I should do in the next chapter. I’ll keep it to myself until the moment feels right and I’m certain that it is happening. I’ll be sure to write it all down to prove my prescience a little latter.

Looking outside my window in our old M and 18th Street office, I was thinking keenly about what the past means and how important it is to interpret it. This life has been an utterly awkward experience and reflecting back, it keeps getting more and more peculiar. I hope to unravel it all over the next year, yet the next three months are critical. I’m figuring the other nine months will be a breeze.

We were eight stories up, on 18th Street for a little over two years and they were two years plagued with phenomenal questions and revelations that simply challenged my own mythology by making the whole idea of viewing my life as myth even more intriguing. I’ve been doing a perplexing dance of the twice-exceptional, or 2e kids from the seventies and eighties. My dance however has been so much more peculiar than the others I’ve known. Lurking around my tenuous genius were serious “deficits” that blew the wild winds of chaos to affect every step I took.

While the alleged genius evinced itself in slightly impressive ways it was up to me to figure out the other parts – those attributes society most often views as deficits. Things just didn’t make sense. Because my family is so inured of my antics it was almost impossible to convince them of what I was dealing with. I’m just dad/husband/son etc. “That’s just Gemal.” But we’re slowly unraveling the truth. Now, thanks mostly to my daughter Truth. She’s has been such a big help.

As the world comes crashing down, well so do the walls that have covered my understanding. It feels like an “Odyssey” of sorts with many lessons, some tragic yet allowing the central figure to continue on. This next chapter feels like it’ll be “something like a phenomenon.” I started writing this part on New Year 2021. The guns and fireworks pattern the night’s soundscape. This is revolution!