When most people think of art, they think of art museums, galleries, and art classes. They think of world-class artists whose work remains superior, and unachievable, and most often people think that art is just not their forte.
Andrea Lim, the co-founder of Wild Paint House, says otherwise. This is why, with her partner Kevin J, she created Wild Paint House, an ‘art-jamming’ studio. Dubai is home to some world-class art galleries and contemporary art museums and immersive art experiences. Art seeps into Dubai’s heritage.
However, the concept of an ‘art-jamming’ studio where there are no rules to art, where customers are given the material and the freedom to do whatever with it, was completely novel.
Wild Paint House was established in Dubai last October, after operating from Singapore for the past five years. Andrea’s vision was to make art accessible to everyone, and above all, make it fun.
“Instead of being stressed because you think that you aren’t an artist, the idea is for people to have fun. As long as you want to do it, you can create something beautiful here.”
What makes this studio even more special is that you don’t need to be an artist or an experienced painter. The studio is open to people of all age groups, backgrounds and skill levels.
The studio offers six unique jamming sessions.
Splat features splatter painting, a technique made popular by American artist Jackson Pollock. Customers are provided with full body covers, and tools such as syringes or water guns. They are also provided with paintbrushes, but Andrea says that customers are not necessarily encouraged to sit down and paint. Splatter painting requires your whole body, and the ability to let loose. Splatter is an abstract way of painting and is not constricted to small spaces. Customers may splatter paint anywhere in the studio, on the walls and even on the floors. They can also use different pour techniques to create their art.
Swing involves the use of electric spin tables. The canvas is placed on the table, and pendulums or trapezes are hung above the canvas. As the table is spun at a steady pace, the overhead object creates fine lines or wavy effects.
Spin is quite similar to Swing Painting. The differentiating factor is that the table needs to be spun manually and the momentum of the canvas creates striking patterns.
Pour is one of their most popular experiences. It involves pouring acrylic paint over different figurines. The studio offers blank figurines in the shape of bears. Dogs and other animals. Customers can pick their choice of paints and pour them over the figurine to create a beautiful, marbled effect.
During the night, the whole studio is UV illuminated. The room glows neon in the dark, and customers can choose to do any of the other experiences, in a more social and party-like atmosphere.
They also offer Graffiti. The studio aims to offer people a safe and legal environment to create graffiti art. They are provided spray paint cans and taught some basic graffiti techniques, and the customers can create their art both inside and outside.
The first edition of the art jamming studio concept named Splat Paint House was opened in Singapore. Hoping for some respite from the pandemic, the pair opened the second edition, called Spin Paint House Singapore. Following the success of their two studios, they decided to bring their venture to the Middle East.
Andrea says one of the biggest challenges during their expansion to Dubai, was finding the right space to house all the activities. They are now located in Al Quoz Industrial Area. Then came the challenge of helping people understand the concept of the studio. She finds that people mistake the studio for being an art class. They are constantly met with the question “What do you teach?”
“The answer is that we don’t necessarily teach, we give you the tools and the space, we show you the demo, and we’re around to help if people ask for help, but it’s not a structured lesson. It’s different from taking art classes.”
The other challenge they face is that when there are no rules, there's also no clear measure of success. This lack of guidance can intensify the fear of failure and make people hesitant to take risks and explore. Andrea finds that customers are often doubtful that they do not have the creativity or skills to produce something that matches their vision. Some may be overwhelmed by the abundance of possibilities, meanwhile, others might enjoy simply splashing paint. Wild Paint House encourages its customers to create a balance between the two, to enjoy the process of creation and to create something that they can be proud of.
“The purpose of our studio is to make people happy. To create art in a way that is fulfilling. We have a lot of people coming in doubting themselves and their ability. People are also surprised by what they can come up with, especially in quite a short span of time with no training or rules.”
Andrea says that although the studio does not market itself as therapy, they often hear from customers that the experience was therapeutic and freeing. She notices that customers who are hesitant during their first time are confident during their second. They no longer need support and feel free to explore their creativity. Perhaps they come with new ideas, or maybe to master a technique that they attempted before.
“It is a really fast learning curve, and people are surprised because they never expected it to be that easy.”
The studio takes both walk-ins and bookings, and customers get to experiment with their choice of painting technique. The experiences come as packages and include all the materials required. The experiences are approximately an hour long. Customers can also purchase memberships which is a package that includes all the experiences and can be redeemed within three or six months.
Aside from being an art studio, Wild Paint House is also an event-organizing company, hosting events like birthday parties and theme nights.
The studio plans to launch new experiences, which Andrea teases is ‘going to be tasty.’ They also have plans underway for a regional expansion.
Beyond everything, Wild Paint House serves as a blank canvas for people to explore art. For some, the experience can be cathartic, for others, it can be educational. The studio teaches its customers to push through their fear of failure. It does not demand perfection. The art that is created is very forgiving. If a customer is unhappy with their piece, they are given the choice to add more paint and try again.
“We would love to welcome you to Wild Paint House. Even if you've never thought of trying anything artistic before, we guarantee that anyone will have a good time and bring home something memorable.”