For our third episode, we invited local artist, activist, athlete,: Garrison Gist aka Paint Can Papi.
Garrison, a former D1 football player for The University of South Carolina, joins our show to talk about following you passion, enjoying life one moment at a time, the #BLM movement and how the fight is never over.
"Putting on for the big dudes."
Garrison is a Rock Hill native and high school football champion who wanted to live a "normal" life after high school. Looking back, Garrison realizes it was players like Jerome Bettis and Mike Tolbert who were "putting on for the big guys," that he looked up to.
Garrison walked on to the USC football program his sophomore year. "For a year and half I was a regular student...then I joined the team and I was faced with all these friends I wasn't going to act brand new on, but since I worked on campus I met and knew so many different people...people always think student athletes are ut of reach, and this is not always true." Garrison had the unique experience of the traditional college student but also being under the limelight of a student athlete. He even tells Gi about his surreal experience of walking on his sophomore year.
'Man that was so random...our tryout got rained on...so we literally didn't do much outside so they took us in the weight room...and I thought this is my bag I used to power lift...I get to 15...then 21....then I hit 28 or 29...and...yeah I knew I made the team then...and the rest is history!"
Despite being a hectic ride, being on that team was a big part of his life. "My biggest moment was starting in a bowl game...and that locker-room man. I was with these dudes all the time, and I think that's what I missed the most.'
Paint Can Papi: The Non Starving Artist
Off the field, art was always a passion for Garrison who know is a freelance artist. He has wove art into his life through his school, a stint as an art teacher, and now working for himself freelancing commissions. Gi digs into how an artist like Garrison, who lets his art speak for himself, market himself and his passion. His answer: social media and chopping it up with people. Simple as that.
"I always make sure I give content to my followers. Whether it's art, working on some stuff on IG live with music...you gotta give them something...and of course, you know me, I don't go screaming to everyone I'M AN ARTIST. I meet people and chop it up. I let it come up that way, or directing people to socials that way..."
Garrison and Gi also talked about how there are so many misconceptions about being an artist full time. "Let the people tell it, and they think all artists are living off Jesus and eating noodles!" jokes Gi as they explore the glorified "starving artist" stereotype. To Garrison, a one man business, he says a lot of people are choosing to live like that.
"Ima tell you what I said on Twitter yesterday...they chose to be a starving artist and don't have to be but thats the route they are choosing because people glorify having to struggle so much before making it. I hate that shit because kids see it! Then they think they have to hit rock bottom."
Garrison explains that in the art world there is a market for everything and that if you are really wanting to make something work you will make the time for it.
"I mean I work a 9-5, I coach track...but I still am going to come home and paint. I still have to do what I have to do."
THE "K" and THE MOVEMENT
"There one mural in particular that everyone has had their eyes on," jokes Gi as she addressed the elephant in the room, one of Garrison's biggest recent projects: The BLACKLIVESMATTER mural in uptown.
Garrison tells us how cool and and surreal it was be part of the project but also to be from this area. In addition, Garrison took advantage of the opportunity to market himself and network with other artists. Him and Gi also recounts how he was approached to do the mural and never expecting how it would blow up.
"I had no idea it was going to be in UPTOWN or how big it was going to get. But..I mean it's history you can't say no to that. The whole process was literally a phone call on Sunday, submitting designs by Monday, and starting to paint Tuesday morning. It was a boss move."
After finally revealing he did the K after a nudge from Gi, Garrison tells us the meaning behind his infamous Deadpool design for his imprint on the BlackLivesMatter movement. Garrison walks us through his multilevel design and why Marvel's merc with the mouth was the center of his design.
"Deadpool himself was an anti-hero. He is not a Marvel hero. He cusses, he break the fourth wall...and that's us. We don't give a f*ck. We will make the changes needed to make things happen.That's our generation."
Thats Layer 1.
"June was pride month, and in case you didn't know Deadpool is openly pansexual. I know me personally I have so many friends and family members that are gay. The LGBTQ movement is part of the BLM movement. You have black trans women being killed and stuff like that, so it was a cool way to represent for that community."
Thats Layer 2, and finally
"If you've ever seen Deadpool without his mask, it's all damaged up and what not. Thats a metaphor for us as black people. We watch our people get killed on tv, racism in the workplace, the grocery store....AND WE STILL need to go to work and we just wear this mask. No matter what happens to our people we laugh, we joke, and get through our day,"
and that's how the metaphor comes together.
Overall, Garrison is thankful for the experience, the established artists he met working the BLM mural, and seeing their work come to life.
Speaking on how Charlotte was amongst the first cities to start the BLM murals across the country, Gi and Garrison want to remind everyone that THE MOVEMENT IS NOT DEAD, BUT STRONGER THAN EVER. Garrison also tells us how the movement reminded him how that we cannot stop because the enemy manifests itself in hateful people, recalling a racist man trying to defraud the BLM mural as they were working on it. He also urges listeners to do something: read up, say/bring awareness to victim's names, and by making sure THEY VOTE.
"It was something else receiving the overwhelming support while we worked on it, afterwards, and how lil ol' Charlotte was that first ripple in the wave this movement has created...IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC."
- Paint Can Papi
Make sure to follow Garrison on Twitter and Instagram: @2gzandcountin
Peace and Blessings - TBV
Ep 1 Drops OCT 10 at 10AM