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Colorful abstract & improvisational artwork by former starving artist Brian Moss

Brain & Friends Art Playshops

Artist Brian Moss & friends connect with people through free art playshops at music & art festivals to introduce young people to painting and other art forms including liquid lightshows.


I believe that sharing art—not making art—is my "purpose". I have hosted many informal free playshops introducing people to painting.

Most people without painting experience find it to be intimidating, so I tend to emphasize inks. If you are using a thin pigment, the art will just flow onto the canvas. And with alcohol based inks, they don't mix and create brown as easily which is great with kids.

To me, 'workshop' implies tests. With playshops, people come and go with no structure, schedule, or curriculum. "If you build it people will come" is my attitude. Admittedly sometimes it's disorganized, but this is about a fun space and not art study. I have had countless people tell me these playshops are the reason they now paint, or that they haven't done so since kindergarten. ❤︎



I have stacks of group paintings that I am going to photograph ... some of these have been touched by dozens of individuals over the course of an event. As activity on the painting increases, people add less to it—not more—and are typically thoughtful not to "tag" anyone's work. As layers build up you'll often see that strangers have accented things that others have painted before them.

My focus has been on smaller 20" x 30" canvases, however I have friends who setup group murals and I've seen similar results on a larger scale. It takes little effort to throw up a piece of wood and prime it white, or to lay out canvases on a table.


Paintings bring people together.

Another idea which spread organically was areacode paintings. Each person who wasn't "creative" or insisted they didn't know "how" to paint was offered a group painting to tag their area code. If their's is already represented, they would be suggested to write their home digits, or, embellish what is there. Even at a podunk festival out in the middle of nowhere you will find that areacodes are widely dispersed. Guys who claim not to want to paint will be happy to put a ton of effort into doodling their number.



Many festivals have provided space to host playshops, and I am immensely grateful for that. But this is small thinking. In 2013 I applied for 501(c)(3) status in Virginia to expand playshops. If / when it is approved I will kick this into high gear. I don't care about tax benefits (if any?), but I want to ensure I am all straight with respect to receiving donations.

One idea is to solicit unused art supplies, which would be redistributed to young people who don't have access. And I don't just mean young people who have the means to attend festivals, but also those who have no jobs to take time away from or who may not have anything constructive to do. There are lots of paints & brushes sitting unused in closets unused, and lots of bored youth.

I am not accepting cash or monetary donations, but potential funds would be used to purchase alcohol inks (as much as $4 for a tiny 0.5oz bottle on amazon and typically more than $3+ on eBay), as well as liquid acrylics (which aren't cheap either—even in bulk).



Playshops & related projects are funded primarily with a percentage of postcard sales which I have offset for this endeavor.