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How Sacramento Raised Me

How Sacramento Raised Me

I’m not shy about my love for Sacramento.

The only way I can explain why is through the following stories.  These images and stories were featured on the @VisitSacramento Instagram page, as I took over this past weekend as a guest instagrammer.

Sacramento has been more than home. It’s been a home to create.

Growing up on the South Sacramento and the Elk Grove area, I started creating young.   I may have started in middle school with graffiti, but it was the collision of passions for art, music, and dance that really changed my life.
In 2003 my journey began.  From painting live at the Fox and Goose, to nightclubs, and eventually larger venues. As my career grew, so did Sacramento.
As I traveled the world doing 100+ shows a year, every time I came home I was reminded how much I love this city. Most importantly the opportunity to create.
I know what I do is very different.  For some reason, this city supported me and inspired me as I was learning.  The love never stopped even until this day.
From all the charitable opportunities to being able to inspire the next generation.  Sacramento will always be my home where I create.

So here are some stories about how Sacramento raised me.  – DG

“Urban Jazz Sessions”
It was 2003, I was 20 years old, and my hustle began.  I literally hit the ground running.  A friend told me about these urban jazz sessions every Wednesday at the Fox and Goose.  I remember walking in there and introducing myself to members of the band Kelly’s Heroes, and asked Anand, the DJ, if I could set up and paint.  He was super cool, and invited me to join them.
That first painting I think I sold to Anand for $50 bucks.  For me at that time it was confirmation.  Confirmation that I now have a place to start pursuing this dream.  This was a start.  I will never forget the feeling of painting live the first time, and selling my first painting.  I also had NO idea this would be the beginning of a life altering journey.  It all started at an urban jazz session.
“Building an Empire”
Shortly after my Fox and Goose days, maybe the same year of 2003 I began performance painting.  The hardest thing, even now, is explaining to anyone what it is.  So finding work was challenging, but I was on my hustle.  I was trying to find some form of a residency (Aka consistent work).
Empire Nightclub, which is now Ace of Spades was just opening, and I approached Bob Simpson, one of the managing partners, about the concept of having my perform every Friday night.  He kinda scratched his head like “you want to do what in my club?”, but he still gave me a chance, and a 6 month contract.  Actually, Sacramento gave me a chance.
I wasn’t that great at the time, it was VERY raw portraits, but I was learning in front of people.  Maybe because they were intoxicated, but either way people showed love.  They didn’t have to.  The people of Sacramento didn’t have to.
From this whole experience I learned more about my hustle.  To turn a talent into a business, into a presentation, and the beginning of building an empire.
“Brightest Fish In The Sea”
On any given day, you will probably see an update of me eating sushi.  It’s kind of a problem.  I remember eating sushi for the first time at the Mikuni on Hazel. I had never eaten raw fish, but once I stuck my teeth into that roll, it was a wrap.  I eat it at many different great local spots like Kru and Tokyo Fro’s, but Mikuni’s has become more than just a meal.
Along the way as I feed my soul, through my stomach, I met one of the “brightest fish in the sea”, Taro Arai.  I have literally traveled the world and never met anyone like him.  I was always inspired by even how they took a simple idea like sushi and turned it into an experience.  So not only is it a place I frequently eat, they’ve also become like family.
Taro and the whole Mikuni team/family have taught me so much about generosity, and using your platform to help others.  So, yes I eat there because my soul craves it, but I also go to support the bigger picture of how they help our community.  So if you see me at Mikuni’s any time soon, come say hello!
“Create Your Opportunity”
2011 was an interesting year.  It was a breakthrough kind of year.  At this point I was traveling around the world doing shows, but locally, not so much.  I mean I always did the occasional fundraiser, but no one would take the chance on a performance painter locally, despite my growth worldwide.  So I thought, I’m not going to wait around for someone to give me opportunity, I’m going to create my own.
I put my money where my mouth was.  I produced and promoted my own 90 minute production at The Crest Theater.  It was like going to see blue man group but, I talk, and paint.  Through all the challenges of taking on a task like this, we still sold out.  It proved to me that, you can’t sit around and complain without taking action.
The Crest Theater experience taught me that people will believe in something, if you give them something to believe in.  It transformed my thinking to go out and not just seek opportunity, but to create it.  It also set me up for the following year which was a breakout moment on America’s Got Talent.
It comes down to this.  If you want to create opportunity for yourself especially in this city, you have to create your own opportunity.  Start with the belief in your idea.  I inspire your team to help you build it.  Your team will help you inspire the city, and help them see what you see.  That city, will support you, to go inspire the world.
So as I travel the world now, my “thank you” for your support is this.  I say “My name is David Garibaldi, and I’m from this great city of Sacramento”.
“War On Walls”
War On Walls is an artistic state of mind.  It’s the moment an artist see’s a blank canvas or a wall and they can’t turn off their creativity until they have turned it from blank to beauty.  Naturally, I named my studio after that when I opened it up on R st a couple years ago.  The War On Walls mindset is also what’s happening on R St.
I sit directly across from the Warehouse Artist Lofts (WAL), which is unique for any city.   Affordable and comfortable housing for artists.  I WISH I had something like this early in my career.  As soon as I learned more about WAL, it’s what inspired me to move in on R st.
WAL and most other new openings on R st are examples of turning blank to beauty.  It’s a long process, but I foresee R st becoming a future destination in Sacramento.  I’m just happy to be a part of the bigger picture on that street.  Even if it’s just for a short time.  I’m proud to call R st my home away from home.


  • Vince huttin says:

    I loved reading your story.
    Very inspirational !!!

  • Vanessa Johnson says:

    You are a very talented individual. My coworker and I enjoyed your performance in S.F., at the We Rise Tour with Van Jones. Keep up the good work, keep living your dream. Blessings.

  • Robert & Ann Hulog says:

    Hi David…it’s wonderful that you have used your incredible God given talent to do so much good. Your sense of hard work, generosity & kindness proves that you are a true son of Sacramento & you deserve any & all blessings that may come your way. We are so happy for all that you have achieved & send wishes your way for continued success & happiness. God Bless you & yours!

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