The Gift of Gratitude, Appliqued!

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Ever wandered the beach at Gratitude Migration and seen some super fly looking shirts worn by our Ranger Crew? Those babies don’t make themselves. Introducing Gustavo Mattes de Lima, or “DR3AM3R “ a local NYC-based artist and godparent of the beautiful handmade shirts with our signature “Put a Bird on it!”

Gustavo makes apparel and accessories in his bedroom-slash-studio, every piece designed and cut out by hand before being appliqued on the garments. And this year, there’ll be sixty-plus such beautiful shirts being worn across the beach, signifying a beacon of safety and security to festivalgoers on hELLO Beach. But how did this come to be?

In 2015, Gustavo was at a breaking point, close to giving up his dream. At the first Summer Dream, he found his tribe. “I was empowered to keep going forward and to not let the challenges bring me down,” Gustavo said. “I met some incredible people, made some lifelong friends, and became inspired to produce even more intricate and elaborate pieces.”

At the event, Gustavo was extra impressed by the volunteers on the Ranger team, who volunteer their time to keep the people of the festival safe. “In my opinion, they are the essence of what our community stands for, volunteering and caring and showing immediacy and compassion.”

He was determined to follow his vision of giving back with gratitude to the people involved as volunteers to the festival.  In 2016, he worked with the organizers to create beautiful handmade T-shirts for the Ranger volunteers.

“But I still felt like I needed to give back even more,” said Gustavo, “So this year I approached the organizers and proposed being official sponsor of the Ranger team.”

With nothing but love in his heart and the spirit of Gratitude, Gustavo covered the costs of making 64 shirts, which was quite the feat - taking 64 man hours and about $1000 worth of materials.

“The first Gratitude Migration was a turning point for me as an artist,” Gustavo said. “I found my tribe. At that event, I felt compelled to give back somehow to the community that embraced me and my art.”

Gustavo runs a one-man operation with no backers, and works with his sweat to build a new vision in apparel making in the community. “It’s a hard thing in itself, but I’ve taken this challenge on. That inspiration that I got from the first migration still fuels my heart and my passion.”

The Ranger T-shirt sponsorship was a continuation of this love affair. “It’s the way I found to be able to give back somehow, and the best way I could. I am extremely excited to be involved. I believe that the message Gratitude Migration stands for, giving in Gratitude, is a very powerful message.”

Rangers, specifically, are important recipients of that Gratitude, being the ones often behind the scenes focusing on keeping everybody safe.

“Often during events in the throngs of the festivities, there are volunteers supporting and making sure things are running smoothly who may not get recognized for what they do. That’s why I chose the Rangers as recipients of my gifts,” Gustavo says. With Gratitude as currency, the Ranger team now possesses unique shirts that are easily recognized by people in need on the beach, and Gustavo’s art has a prime position of visibility among the community.

He has bigger visions beyond hELLO Beach, which includes making shirts for Rangers at Burning Man, and even has a project in mind for brightening up Black Rock City.

But this weekend, you can catch Gustavo’s art everywhere you see a bright yellow Ranger with a big bird on their back - and at his vending booth at the bazaar, where you can grab an awesome handmade appliqued shirt for yourself!

In the spirit of Gratitude and the currency with which we live, the organizers of Gratitude Migration express appreciation to Gustavo for his beautiful art, and support of the Ranger team. We couldn’t do it without you, and for that we are grateful.

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