Art students at Polk State College participated in a uniquely valuable experience leading up to the Spring 2023 Bandit Market in downtown Winter Haven on April 1. Lakeland-based artist Bump Galletta facilitated two workshops to teach all things art and marketing to Professor of Visual Arts Holly Scoggins’ class.
Galletta shared excitement about teaching college students, as he has not graduated from college himself. He explained that at the start of his artistic career, others were reluctant to share “trade secrets” with him. Now self-trained and having found great success in his endeavors, he aspires to give back to up-and-coming artists through transparency about tricks of the trade.
“Art needs to succeed. This is how we tell our story,” Galletta said. “My best advice for anybody who wants to launch their creativity is to find a way to make it about you and your story, but also find a way to capture what’s going on around you.”
Galletta launched in popularity over the last five years with his hyperlocal-focused drawings, from Polk County landmarks and house portraits to collaborations with businesses and organizations including Polk State College, Publix, Starbucks, the Lakeland Magic, and the Lakeland Flying Tigers.
He shared the trials and tribulations that developed him as an artist, how he learned from his mistakes, and how he never said ‘no’ to requests for commissions.
“I always said yes and then figured it out,” Galletta shared. “Be open-minded. Be open to trying something new. Be open to learning as you go.”
From developing a signature style to learning worth as an artist and a business, Galletta provided students with insight into how to transform their passions and talents into rewarding careers. This included his experiences at markets and pop-up events where he sells his art.
“I didn’t make a lot of money at first,” he admitted. “But I learned a lot – how to transport my art, how to set it up, how to account for the uncertainty of the weather, and details that you really can’t plan but you learn along the way.”
“Having this opportunity to learn from an artist firsthand is really interesting because I feel like a lot of times, you’re very worried about how scary it’s going to be out there or it seems impossible to make a living. But then you hear about somebody who has done it for many years successfully…, and it gives you hope about your own process and your own journey.”
As Polk State Art students prepared for the Bandit Market, hosted at The Ritz by Destroyer Media and Pin + Needle’s Lyndsey Vernick, they had the opportunity to share their art, ask questions, and practice their pitches with Galletta and Professor Scoggins.
“Having this opportunity to learn from an artist firsthand is really interesting because I feel like a lot of times, you’re very worried about how scary it’s going to be out there or it seems impossible to make a living,” Polk State Art student Paula Jogler said. “But then you hear about somebody who has done it for many years successfully…, and it gives you hope about your own process and your own journey.”
Polk State offers the Associate in Arts degree with a transfer intent or pathway in Visual Arts, which allows students to receive a two-year degree and prepare for transfer to bachelor’s degree programs in areas including but not limited to studio art, ceramics, painting, art education, photography, graphic design, and animation. Students study a wide range of artistic expressions, from fundamentals of design and drawing to advanced levels of studio art and photography. Students are also afforded numerous opportunities to showcase their work and participate in exhibitions.
Student Galina Hitching echoed appreciation for the opportunities Polk State affords aspiring artists and the experience of learning firsthand from Galletta.
“It’s important to learn from working artists in the real world. Having artists that we can learn from can help us reach a higher level of quality with our art, be more successful, and represent the community well,” Hitching said.
“One of my favorite things I learned was his emphasis on being ourselves and being true to our art,” she added. “Advice that I would give to any students or artists is to allow yourself to be where you are. Be gentle on yourself and give yourself the space to become the great artist you want to be.”