Jerrell Gibbs’ Meteoric Rise in the Art World
by Lauren LaRocca
Published July 6 in Baltimore Magazine
Excerpt: After dropping out of college (twice), Jerrell Gibbs worked as a home health aide while he and his wife raised their daughter in Baltimore County. For a while, he worked a day shift and a night shift simultaneously to provide for his family. During one of those night shifts, he found himself looking at a picture in his phone of his wife and daughter, and, on a whim, started sketching it—something he hadn’t done since he was a kid. Then he sent the finished drawing to his wife.
“I got it and was like, ‘Who drew this?’” Sheila Gibbs remembers, laughing. “It came to me by surprise. I was impressed. I was like, okay this could be a little something. Because we were newly married and struggling financially, I was like, ‘Why don’t you start tattooing or something, make us some more money?’”
Gibbs took his wife’s advice to heart and delved more deeply into sketching and also began designing tattoos. Noticing her husband’s growing interest, Sheila bought him an easel and art supplies the following year for Father’s Day, which furthered his new “hobby.” Not only did he begin experimenting with the practice of painting, he devoured books and other materials to learn as much as he could on the subject.