David Garibaldi faces the music

Artist David Garibaldi visits Rowan University painting his way to the crowd's hearts. -Assistant Photo Editor/Amanda Palma

On the stage which had been carpeted specifically for the occasion, David Garibaldi moves to the rhythms of music. Starting with a blank canvas and using the beat as inspiration, Garibaldi begins to paint what at first appears to be a random, humdrum, paint-splattering creation. After six minutes however, he is able to transform the canvas into looking like a real person.

David Garibaldi entertained students at a Rowan After Hours [RAH] event on last Thursday in the Chamberlain Student Center Pit. Garibaldi’s performance was just one of several upcoming events at RAH which are entitled, “Glowin’ University Series” which are spin-off events similar to the Color Me Rowan weekend events.  Garibaldi is what is called a performance artist, this genre usually involves artists who perform or do art in a special way.

Garibaldi began the evening by painting Abel Tesfaye, or more famously known as The Weeknd, to two of his songs: “The Hills & “Can’t Feel My Face.” Throughout the evening he continued on to paint Beyoncé, Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein.

In between painting each portrait, Garibaldi shared his story with the audience.

“I used to do paintings much larger than this, which was illegal graffiti which usually started with spray cans and ended with sirens,” Garibaldi said.  “I asked myself what I was doing with this gift of creativity which had been given to me. That answer came with Mr. Sullivan, my art teacher. He wanted me to change that. Use my talent in art for something.”

Garibaldi went on to spend a few more rough years. He didn’t graduate on time, and it took years before he saw Jimmy Henders’ performance art and decided he wanted to partake in that, too.

Garibaldi pursued his talent and before long, Garibaldi was performing on stages too. He was featured on the seventh season of “America’s Got Talent” and eventually took fourth place.  “Accomplishing that feat was really cool. Being on the show made me that much more confident in my ability as an artist. It meant that 20-30 million people voted and believed in it. Believed in art,” Garibaldi said.

Throughout Garibaldi’s career, he has raised over $1 million in donations for nonprofit organizations.  “We all have these passions and dreams,” Garibaldi said, “What about doing it for something better?”  Garibaldi raised this challenge and theme throughout the evening’s events, which were well received by the audience.

“I thought [Garibaldi’s paintings] were really cool because I didn’t think the first would be The Weeknd,” Stephanie Velasquez, a senior public relations major, said. “He was so incredibly inspiring and made me think and really evaluate my life.”

Garibaldi gathered a crowd of 230 students on Thursday. Megan McHugh, the assistant director for RAH, was impressed with the outcome of the evening. “The event turned out great and I think everyone who watched David’s performance really enjoyed it,” she said.

Many were drawn to Garibaldi’s different approach. “He was a really cool and different artist,” Tina Chug, a junior psychology major said. “It was so neat to watch someone create out of nothing while dancing. He wasn’t just painting.”

Garibaldi encouraged all audience members to try to create their own portrait, their purpose in life.  “Your self-portrait is being painted right now,” he said. “It starts today. How can we change the world through paint?”

– Featured image: Artist David Garibaldi visits Rowan University painting his way to the crowd’s hearts. -Assistant Photo Editor/Amanda Palma

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