Smiling Sheep: Fighting the Paint Night Phenomenon

Some magazine subscriptions seem to be ordered in perpetuity. I begin with this because I would never have read Entrepreneur magazine if it were not delivered to my doorstep once a month for the past 4 years even after my late father-in-law, whose subscription it was, passed away. A couple of years ago, while flipping through the pages, I started to notice these franchises in the back that were “art” related or claimed to be art related. These businesses had names combining wine with a famous artist and boasted incredible numbers from a profitability standpoint. To me, conceptually, they were what I would describe as quite simply: disgusting. Everything that is wrong in the world. People go, drink, copy a painting from the “teacher”, then posts pictures on social media of them with their friends posing with their identical ugly paintings. I expected these businesses to die a well deserved painful death. 

Instead, they have grown and even evolved. The paintings they make are less cheesy, the wines are better quality, the studios are most industrial, more “artsy”, but don’t be fooled: they are the same horrid business.

These businesses reinforce to us (and our children) that artists are people who make pretty pictures and that art is about making something to put on a wall.  More seriously damning is that they perpetuate a belief that our world is made up of “artists” (who are the “teachers” at these places) and “non artists” (who are the attendees) and that “non artists” can create art by following an “artist” step by step. This concept exemplifies the essential flaw that persists in art education from age 2 and up. Identification in one of these groups (artists and non artists) happens too early and under false pretense.

The truth is, we are all artists. Artists in the sense that we are all creative thinkers - this is out of necessity. Humans need to constantly solve problems to exist and thrive in a complex world, and this type of thinking is artistry. We may not all make pretty pictures but pretty pictures are not art and most artists would actually gag at the thought of their work being called pretty anyway.

So help us lead the revolt.

We’re starting anti paint nights at our studios. Come explore an artistic medium with a practicing artist in your own way!

Here are upcoming dates in our Inwood studio

November 17th // Painting Mixed Media

Allow your creativity to flow freely and get messy in this one night intensive workshop.  Students will work primarily with acrylic paint and learn how to mix acrylic with other media to achieve variety in line quality, texture, and expression.  Leave class with a mixed media piece ready to frame!

December 8th // Landscape Painting

This one night intensive workshop focuses on painting quick landscape studies.  Students will work in the studio using photography to compose and sketch a landscape on paper and transfer the sketch to canvas before using acrylic to paint.  Learn how to utilize the fast drying quality of acrylic to quickly create colorful, expressive landscape studies.

Sign up for an anti-paint night here!