LAKELAND, Fla. — A former Lakeland youth pastor put his faith to the test, and so far it’s paid off.

  • Illustrator "Bump" Galleta's art will be sold at 'West Elm'
  • Galleta is self-taught, used art to cope with PTSD
  • He expects his items to be sold at West Elm by April

After leaving the church in May to work as a freelance illustrator, Josh “Bump” Galletta said his career has taken off.

His work will now be sold in the home goods store “West Elm” throughout Florida.

Galletta said he always liked to draw, but a serious bicycle accident eight years ago led him to take art more seriously. He said he was hit by a woman trying to beat him through an intersection.

“She hit me with her car, and then proceeded to run over, and then run back over me. I had a lot of internal injuries. Almost 30 broken bones,” Galletta said.

The memory wouldn’t fade and led to him being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. His counselor told him his hobby of drawing would help.

“The counselor told me to find something I love, putting everything into, and then find a way to release it,” Galletta recalled.

Bump said he started drawing postcards, and then hid them in parks. He encouraged people who found them to share the work on Instagram.

“The first couple people were like ‘oh cool I found this.’ But then soon after they were like ‘If I give you money, would you make something for me?’ which we never thought about,” he said.

The self-taught illustrator said he then put his hand drawn artwork on hats, cups, and t-shirts. While selling his items at a pop-up market, he said someone from the home decor store West Elm approached him.

“The managers said, ‘Your art is amazing, could we carry it in our store?’ I met the district manager, and she said we don’t want it just in this store, we want it in all the Florida stores. I was kind of speechless for having that opportunity. An amazing opportunity just walked up and saw me in a market,” Galletta said.

He just finished the paperwork with West Elm and expects his items to be sold there by April.

Galletta also makes custom prints, portraits, and tattoo designs, all done with a pen and paper.