SOMERVILLE, NJ - Local author and artist Jerome Alexander will sign and personalize copies of his book “Pothole” at Gallery on Main, 30 W. Main St. from 6-9 p.m. Friday, June 24th.

Shaun Daley, a good friend and fellow artist, is co-owner of the antiques store, art gallery and restoration shop which had its grand opening earlier this month.

“Pothole,” is the story of a transplanted New Jersey graffiti artist, and is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble booksellers and other online book sites.

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Cost of the book is $23.

Gonzalez, who graduated Somerville High School in 1992 – he now lives in Bridgewater - admits he never embraced his artwork as do most artists. Self taught, each piece of art was another challenge, another lesson learned but after years of trying to define himself as an artist, he returned to writing.

“That started for me in Somerville High School,” he explained. “They put me in the college prep English class, and I was so proud of that; it inspired me to want to do well, and I began to write rhymes, poetry, short stories.

“When I was younger, I was in these little rap groups, so that rhyming and writing and telling the story all sticks with me and that will never ever leave,” he added.

The seed for “Pothole” was planted several years ago when Gonzalez hit a pothole on Route 28 near the United Parcel Service distribution hub while driving home from a karate lesson with his son and daughter.

Concerned there might be some serious damage – “it was a loud bang,” he recalled – he didn’t want to let on to Julian and Bella that there might be a serious problem.

“By the time we reached Somerville, I had this idea for a story, about how life can change in an instant,” he explained.  “It was dark, and I was thinking about the kids, what if they got hurt, what if we broke down, a lot of things were running through my mind.”

Though Gonzalez said “Pothole” is not autobiographical, there are vague references to places he describes that will be recognized by those who know him.

There are also striking resemblances between Gonzalez and the main character in the book, graffiti artist Jerry Cohen, AKA Jerz whose ambition is to become a legend as a street artist.

Gonzalez met Daley four years ago during the Arts on Division outdoor show; his daughter was admiring Daley’s artwork, a conversation ensued, and they’ve been friends since then.

“Bella still tells me I’m her favorite artist,” Daley said.