This piece is part of our LALtoday Q+A series. Do you know someone we should interview? Nominate them here.
Josh “Bump” Galletta is a local illustrator and artist known for his murals at the Southgate Starbucks and Publix GreenWise Market. If you know where to look, you’ll also find his work sprinkled throughout Swan City, including on neighborhood signs, billboards, local merch, and even occasionally hidden in plain sight.
We asked Bump 16 questions about his style, inspiration, and Lakeland favorites. Keep reading to find out his dream project and more.
Q: Tell us your name and what people should know about you.
A: My name is Josh “Bump” Galletta, and I’m a freelance illustrator. I love my family, everything to do with Bigfoot and UFOs, I’m a collector of reggae + punk rock vinyl and Star Wars minifigures, and I’m a man of faith.
Q: When did you start illustrating?
A: When I was in high school, I loved comics. I drew my classmates as superheroes + made up stories. If we had a party and needed a gift, I’d draw a family portrait, pet portrait, or house, and people were like, “Oh, I want one!”
Q: What advice would you give to budding artists? What opportunities do Lakeland artists have to connect?
A: Find your voice and your style. Everybody’s looking for something new, something explosive that tells a story and says who you are.
When I was first trying to sell my artwork, I was doing watercolor, building furniture out of scrap wood, I tried mixed mediums, murals, and drawings. I narrowed it down to something that defined who I am and that’s how I got my aesthetic. I’m very fortunate to be known for my style. You’re going to grow and change, but be who you are.
I encourage joining Catapult and the Chamber. Meet the business people and shop owners — everybody needs a logo, t-shirt, or product. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help.
Q: Can you tease any upcoming projects?
A: There’s a couple of restaurants I’ve done truck wraps or trailer wraps for, but I can’t say who yet. We’re working on quite a few items for our store online. Some dream jobs are coming up.
Q: Describe your career path.
A: I worked for summer camps, was a youth pastor for 20 years, then met some leaders in town who said “pursue your art!” Within six months of doing it full time, opportunities were coming my way.
Q: Name artists that influenced your style.
A: Bill Watterson, for Calvin and Hobbes. Norman Rockwell, Don and Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature, Andy J. Miller of Creative Pep Talk, and Chris Bachalo. He would hide his name in a floating leaf or rock. That’s kind of the evolution of my signature on the floating piece of paper.
Q: Which is your favorite commission and why?
A: Wonder & Whimsy. You’re getting 100% me and my inspiration. “Your story, my art” has always been our mantra. I get to cut loose.
Q: What local landmarks inspire you?
A: The Sputnik and all of the lakes.
Q: You started a digital series, “Tank & Olly,” what was your inspiration and what do you hope for its future?
A: “Tank & Olly” is my thing for me. I love monsters and robots. Creatives need to make time for themselves, because if it’s just “work, work work,” you lose the imagination, creativity starts to taper off, and you start to get cold towards your creativity. My goal is to put out a really thick column like “Calvin and Hobbes,” full of little stories.
Q: Has the success of “Goodnight, Lakeland” inspired you to write or illustrate another children’s book?
A: Yes. One of my first Christmases with [my wife] I made a story for her. I had it professionally edited and wrote the whole thing. It’s 20 years old by now, so I’m redoing it and redrawing it because my art’s changed. And, Ida and I are working on a second book.
Q: Looking ahead, what’s your dream project?
A: I’d like to do something with Disney and Apple. Locally, I would love to work with Florida Southern College and Silvermoon Drive-In Theatre. My dreams were Starbucks and Publix, and my whole goal was like, “let me see how much I can do for Lakeland.” And it’s been the craziest, I’m beyond blessed.
Q: What Lakeland artists, leaders, or entrepreneurs do you have your eye on?
Q: You’re having a dinner party with three people, living or dead — who do you invite?
A: Banksy, Mary Shelley, and Norman Rockwell.
Q: In addition to your online shop, where could Lakelanders go to get your work?
A: Scout & Tag, Rafa Natural, and Punk Rock Flea. Pressed carries our books and Gents Classic Cuts sells my hats.
Q: Hit us with your favorite piece of local trivia.
A: The guy who originally installed Sputnik made sure whoever owns that property has to operate and keep it working. It can’t ever be in disrepair or have burnt-out lightbulbs. There’s only one other in the country, in Memphis. It’s weird. It’s different. It’s got that retro vintage vibe to it.
Q: Any final words of advice?
A: Hustle, be dedicated, don’t have an ego, be a nice person, say thank you. Support local and hire local.