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Artist David Garibaldi paints on canvas, dances on Ohio State stage

Performance painter David Garibaldi paints at the Ohio Union in an OUAB-sponsored event March 3. Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editor

Performance painter David Garibaldi paints at the Ohio Union in an OUAB-sponsored event March 3.
Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editor

One artist was able to garner a national presence through his brand of performance painting.

The Ohio Union Activities Board hosted David Garibaldi, a performance paint artist and former contestant of the television show “America’s Got Talent,” Monday evening.

Garibaldi painted four portraits while he was on stage. He painted a portrait of Michael Jackson in a matter of minutes while the audience listened to Jackson’s song “Thriller.” He painted a portrait of a couple leaning in for a kiss, a portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. and another of Albert Einstein.

His journey to becoming a performance painter began when he was growing up in Sacramento where he was involved in graffiti art during his teen years.

“It was illegal. But I was very young. I was 14 or 15 at the time living in Sacramento, Calif. I would find a painting in anything (that was) standing up,” Garibaldi said.

He said he became interested in performance painting after seeing a splattered painting of Jimi Hendrix. The next day, Garibaldi gave it a try.

“It looked more just like me sweating and me covered in paint than anything else,” he said.

After enough practice, he was performing his art for people. Now he uses music while he paints.

“I set up some brushes, some paints and a canvas and I turn all the music up. Music helps me paint the portrait,” Garibaldi said.

He also decided to use his paintings as a way to raise money to donate to nonprofits and charities.

“I set this crazy goal. I challenged myself and my team. Let’s raise $1 million for nonprofit organizations and charities by the time that I turned 30 through auction sales of my artwork. So as years went on, we would do these charity auctions to benefit everyone from the Special Olympics to California Youth Charities. I turned 30 a year ago and we met our goals six months before then,” Garibaldi said.

The performance painter talked about the importance of finding one’s passions.

“It was really about finding those passions. We all have those passions inside of us. They can be creative, competitive, charitable, profitable, scientific and mathematic. The world that we live in today can be passionate about anything. At least in my experiences, when you apply those purposes (of your passions) behind it, that’s bigger than you, you begin to use those passions to change the world around you,” Garibaldi said.

In an interview with The Lantern, Garibaldi described his time on “America’s Got Talent” as difficult.

“It was very challenging. You are put into very high-pressurized situations where you find out what you are made of. I found out that I was made of fourth place. I found out that I was able to push the limit of my art form and create original concepts that had never been done,” Garibaldi said.

Garibaldi had some advice for aspiring young artists who are trying to make it into the art world.

“I always tell artists — create what you’re passionate about outside of art. Focusing is very important. Become an expert at your craft and practice it. It’s going to come so much more naturally to you and you’re going to find other people that are into that same thing as you,” Garibaldi said.

He said hard work is an important element individuals need to have in order to become professionals at their craft.

“Just get used to working. You can’t be lazy. The whole lazy artist hanging out in the studio — that’s a lie. If you want to make it, you have to work. In any profession, you have to work harder than everyone else,” Garibaldi said.

The performance painter said he tries to plan out his artistic performances a little bit before he goes on stage.

“It’s definitely a little planned. I try to get an idea of who’s in the audience and then from there I try to find music to help bring (the art) to life. It’s based on how I want to connect with people in the audience. I’ll always create something that I’m into, but it connects with the audience,” Garibaldi said.

Some students said they enjoyed Garibaldi’s performance on campus.

“I loved seeing his performance come to life after seeing it on TV. I loved seeing the process of how he makes his art work. It was really nice learning about him, instead of just watching a plain performance,” said Puja Chandra, a fourth-year in marketing.

Daniel Foster, a fifth-year graduate student in welding engineering, agreed.

“I thought it was a very creative and exciting event. His use of combining art and music to make a painting was really innovative,” Foster said.

Some students also enjoyed hearing Garibaldi’s personal experiences of starting out as a performance painter.

“I thought it was really cool because you don’t get to hear a lot of stories of hardship from successful people like David Garibaldi,” said Katherine Uhl, a first-year in food science.

Garibaldi said an artist’s work can be inspirational.

“I think art is important for the artist because they can just get out what’s living inside of them, and I think it’s important to the world because artists can contribute their hopefully positive expressions to the world and inspire people,” Garibaldi said.

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