When the world beats you up, it’s hard not to shut down and grow hardened, detached, or negative. But for New York-based artist Gallardo, better known as Art of Andres, the road to making it wasn't easy. Not only did he have to face the harsh realities that any aspiring artist deals with (rejection, self-doubt, sacrifice in the name of craft), but five of Andres’ most beloved pieces—pieces he painted for his mother and brothers—were stolen.
Andres was ready to quit. But instead of surrendering, he summoned the strength to turn the tables on his situation and started creating new pieces for the sole purpose of giving them away for free. And we’re not talking a piece here and there. In his first year of working on the project alone, Andres dropped 400 pieces—often in remote places and in the middle of the night—and gained a faithful group of fans that scrambled to collect them.
The response to Andres’ free art campaign was much bigger than he could have ever expected. It gained more and more steam as time went on, and gradually shifted the narrative of his neighborhood from being a place that's troubled to one filled with hope. People have become excited about the prospect of pursuing a life in the arts, just like Andres did. Andres' ability to fight for better, both within himself and his community, turned a negative situation into a spark that uplifted so many around him.
To learn more about Art of Andres and his fight for better, be sure to watch the video above, sponsored by Modelo.