The city of Elk Grove’s Diversity Awareness Month ends on Sunday, Aug. 30, and David Garibaldi will take the honor of performing its grand finale that night.
This local painter regularly tours the world and quickly paints portraits of historical figures, cultural icons, or rock stars at concerts, halftime shows, and charity fundraisers. A Garibaldi painting can be completed in less than six minutes, and the artist typically creates his work while energetic, dance music plays.
Garibaldi told the Citizen that he will craft three paintings live in his studio for an online video session at 7 p.m. on Aug. 30. This session can be viewed at the city of Elk Grove's Facebook page. Garibaldi said his work will also be a celebration of the diverse Elk Grove community where he grew up.
“This is important for me because I really want to reach the community I grew up in,” Garibaldi said.
The artist said that he did not feel culture shock when he traveled around the world since he was accustomed to living in diverse Elk Grove.
“I’ve been familiar with different cultures from what I learned back home,” he said. “It gave me more compassion for places I was going and for people I was meeting.”
Garibaldi mentioned that his children are now growing up in his home community.
“Hopefully, they will have the same compassion for people,” he said.
Garibaldi declined to give away many details about what he will paint, but he said that the subjects include religion and civil rights. He is also planning to speak to viewers about his experience of growing up in Elk Grove, touring the world, and creating philanthropic projects.
“I will probably take my time a little more and I’ll talk as I’m painting – it’s Bob Ross mixed with a rock show,” the artist said while referring to the late painter who was famous for his soothing voice on his television show.
Garibaldi attended Sheldon High School where animation teacher Shawn Sullivan encouraged him to become a painter. A few years ago, they collaborated to create the Creator X program to connect visual and performing art professionals with high school students across the Sacramento region. A few of Sullivan’s former students took a break from their work as animators for Pixar and the Cartoon Network to help teach classes during Creator X’s summer camp at Sheldon High. Garibaldi said that organizers could not host a summer camp session this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a “virtual” or online version is in the works.
The pandemic also caused Garibaldi to avoid touring and instead hosting livestreamed painting sessions on his website. He also continues to sell his work online.
“It’s like starting several new businesses at once,” he said about his online work this year. “I have the energy to do 100 shows a year and we’re putting it into so many good things that are helping pivot our business.”