By MADELINE McDONALD
Ball Circle was bright with color Friday night as performance painter David Garibaldi brought his show, “Rhythm and Hue,” to the University of Mary Washington as part of homecoming.
Students were in awe as Garibaldi zipped across the stage, dabbing bright paint on black canvases with paintbrushes and even his hands. Smears of color that at first seemed arbitrary transformed into familiar faces belonging to pop icons such as Rihanna and Adele. With each portrait, the audience grew louder and louder, culminating in amazed applause at a painting of Albert Einstein created upside-down.
Painting wasn’t the only thing Garibaldi’s show had going for him, though.
During breaks between stunning students with his artistic talent, he told the audience how he became a performance painter.
“I just wanted to create,” said Garibaldi.
At first, this meant painting graffiti and subsequently breaking the law in Sacramento, Ca., but after a close call with a cop, he became more dedicated to his art.
According to his website, after seeing performance painter David Dent’s portrait of Jimmi Hendrix, he discovered music-driven art. From there, he made his way from performances in nightclubs to the seventh season of “America’s Got Talent” and beyond.
During the show, he was also very passionate that students follow their dreams. Whether it is art, writing, math or science, he encouraged members of the audience to do as he had done and focus on what they love to do, no matter what it is. Some found him to be very inspiring.
“It kind of made me want to switch my major a little bit [to art,]” said Amber Edmonds, a sophomore majoring in historic preservation.
All together, it was a nice message, but the way it was presented wasn’t quite as graceful as Garibaldi’s paintbrush. Between canvases, he would spend several minutes talking about his journey and the importance of following your passions, which in turn took away from all the energy he’d built up in the audience while painting and blasting fun music.
In these lulls between performances, one couldn’t help but notice how small and out of place the crowd looked in the middle of Ball Circle. It felt like something more appropriate for a smaller, more intimate venue where spectators could easily soak in Garibaldi’s words and amazing artistry without struggling to see over everyone else’s heads.
However, this was easily forgotten once he started painting again. Watching him run and jump with elegant grace to strike the canvas seemingly at random with his brush to create a masterpiece blew away the crowd.
“I’d never seen him before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was so mind-blowing!” said Katheryn Pierce, a sophomore and anthropology major.
It wasn’t exactly the kind of show one would expect for homecoming, but it impressed students anyways. Garibaldi definitely has some new fans here at UMW and perhaps has even inspired a few to follow their dreams.