Local Artist Spreads Love Across America With Simple Message

Todays News

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY NOV 6, 2020

A man of many beanie hats and trades, Brandon Thrift has been known to mix up a snazzy craft cocktail as a former bartender for Sage SRQ, and seen banging his head up on stage as the drummer for heavy metal band Dealey Plaza. The 25-year old with locks probably longer and more lush than yours is no stranger to cheering up bar guests and playing music for cheering crowds. But when the pandemic hit, most cheering ceased. Restaurants and bars closed, shows and events were canceled, and Thrift found himself with a lot of downtime. “Around late March, my musical career and craft cocktail bartending job came to an immediate halt thanks to Covid,” he shares. "I found myself craving creative expression.” Aside from the general wariness and uncertainty the pandemic instilled in us all, losing both main sources of artistic expression was an additional blow to his innately positive demeanor. With the time and headspace to suss out a new outlet for his right-brained abilities and showcase his artistry, Thrift turned to painting  fashioning tarps and drop cloths, making messes, but most importantly exploring the medium to cheer himself up as well as those around him.

An abstract expressionism style came naturally for Thrift as he began to experiment with splattered wet paint and bold colors to convey an impassioned, perfervid notion — each piece entirely unique from the last. “The idea I had for the entire approach — being the primary and secondary color-scheme — was to keep it as fundamentally relatable and easily absorbed by as many people as possible,” he shares. And as for the free-throwing artistic process, he notes, “There is no wrong way, no wrong approach to the application. Anything goes!” 

And as the woes of the pandemic continued to unfold, and hardships were abundant to those around him, the newfound artist found his stride when his paintings evolved to become a vessel to convey a clear, all caps two-syllable message he believed needed to be heard, or read. A simple phrase with a poignant mantra: Spread Love. The inspiration itself stemmed from a combination of spiritual intervention and the infallibly chaotic energy of the world around me,” he says. “The negativity essentially necessitated the birth of something dynamic and positive — thus the ‘Spread Love’ movement.” 

With time and paint on his hands, Thrift rented a car and took to the open road to figuratively and literally spread his message. Thrift packed and stacked his splattered paint signs into the rental, with a goal in mind to drop them off one-by-one along the way, sharing it in as many states and with as many people as he could over the course of three weeks. Driving over 12,000 miles  embarking from Sarasota, FL, across the American Southwest, up the Pacific coast and ending up in Portland, OR — Thrift passed mile markers through 12 different states, entering and exiting countless national treasures and National Parks. “I would make pieces on the road by finding supplies around town or on the Craigslist free section,” he says as he began to run out of signs to leave in his imprinted wake. “My favorite piece was a 9-foot long surfboard that was broken in half that I found in Santa Cruz. There was no plan for that trip, I just took it one minute at a time and followed my gut.” 

Recently back from his solo wayward journey of leaving surprises for strangers — similar to the viral trend of The Kindness Rock Project — his pieces have been making quite the impression locally. It's no hard task stumbling upon and spotting his unmistakable artwork in a bounty of establishments, businesses, parks, street corners, landmarks and hotspots around town. “Art always has been and always will be for the people,” he says. “Same thing with music and food — It’s a form of expression and communication that bonds humanity.” People need positive reinforcement and happy reminders above all else this year, it’s clear. And while Thrift had no outlandish expectations or any idea this passion project would blow up to become such an enlivened campaign that has received an incredible amount of attention in the media and traction throughout the community. “I receive messages every single day about this project — whether it be a photo of a piece hanging in their home or a simple ‘thank-you.’ There has been nothing but positive reception.”

Now featured in State of the Arts Gallery, Lipstick Lex Gallery, The Artful Giraffe gallery and LIGON fine art gallery, Thrift’s 'Spread Love' artwork can be found and purchased to support the continued movement that is so indelibly pertinent in a moment of combative tumult and polarised division throughout the country. “I hope that it can help people understand how fundamental and essential it is to love yourself and love your neighbor and that it all starts within yourself. Love is the glue holding us together.” 

Pictured: Sharing the love at Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, courtesy of Brandon Thrift

Follow the movement at @ArtbyBrandonThrift

« View The Friday Nov 6, 2020 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

Conservation Foundation Announces virtual Summer Photo Contest

Conservation Foundation Announces virtual Summer Photo Contest

Apr 16, 2021

Barancik Foundation “A Portrait of 2020” Receives Top Industry Recognition

Barancik Foundation “A Portrait of 2020” Receives Top Industry Recognition

Apr 16, 2021

Pop Goes The Garden

Pop Goes The Garden

Apr 16, 2021

First 1,000 Days Sarasota County Launches Public Art Campaign “Color the Community”

First 1,000 Days Sarasota County Launches Public Art Campaign “Color the Community”

Apr 16, 2021