COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Eighteen-year-old Gahanna artist Gabby Anderson is about to be thrust into the national spotlight as her portraits hit Walmart stores across the country this week.
Anderson was commissioned by the nation’s largest retailer to paint portraits of the founders of Black beauty brands such as By Sharon C, Mielle Organics, Kim Kimble, Flawless, and Luna Magic. The “Beauty in Color” collection will appear on endcaps in more than 1,500 stores nationwide including 80 in Ohio.
“Graffiti by Gabby … started a couple of years ago,” said Anderson, a recent high school graduate. “It was just something small I was doing for my friends where I would just customize [their] shoes.”
She began getting more and more shoe commissions.
“As I kept going, my friends were like, ‘Gabby, you have to start an Instagram page for this. You have to actually get serious about it,'” Anderson said. “It grew into something amazing.”
That Instagram page is where senior director of haircare merchandising for Walmart Angel Beasley connected with Anderson and changed her life.
“I was just talking with my mom about this. … I think it is amazing how far we have come in just a couple of years,” Anderson said. “I don’t think we could have imagined that we’d be where we are today with my artwork.”
She also credits her mom and Gahanna community for always encouraging her talents.
“I want to shout out all of my Gahanna people, especially everyone at Gahanna Lincoln High School because they definitely did nurture me, especially in the beginning of my business,” Anderson said with a smile. “I really love it here. And to all those little girls that sometimes I work [basketball] camps with or go to the gym and work out with … they can do it as well.”
Anderson, who is headed to Harvard in the fall where she will play basketball and is learning towards studying business entrepreneurship, said her artwork and NIL deals give her financial freedom as well.
“This is a wonderful time because recently, I have made enough money to where I can pay for my own tuition coming up next at Harvard,” she said. “And that was a big step for me because I was very happy that the burden wouldn’t just fall on my mother. So it’s very wonderful.”
Anderson has a request for people who see her artwork in Walmart stores to help her celebrate this achievement: “If you would like you can go into stores, and you can take a picture next to the endcap and then do #GraffitiByGabby and then tag me on any platform @GabbyAnderson04. I would really like it if everyone could go take a picture in any state that you’re in, so I can make a big collage of everyone who took a picture and make a wonderful video out of it.”
You can watch the full interview with in the video player below.