A new type of hands-on entertainment which requires neither experience nor talent, is coming to a venue near you. Paint by the Pints, or Paint and Prosecco if you prefer your drinks a little more upmarket, is a fun way to combine a creative activity with socialising, eating and drinking. Aimed at the novice or amateur, all materials including a canvas are provided, with step by step instruction from an artist and a free drink or two (with, sometimes, a little food). The end result is a self-crafted masterpiece (!) to be proud of.
These pop up classes have been running in Dublin and other locations around Ireland for a little over a year now and have tapped into a phenomenon that I am going to call “Learning to Have Fun Without My Phone”.
Mixing a hobby or interest with socialising – business or personal – is well practiced, of course. Relationships and friendships have long been cultivated on golf courses, squash and tennis courts, at all sorts of sporting events and even, in some countries, in the sauna!
As a rookie sales executive travelling the length and breadth of the UK some years ago, I recall being strongly encouraged to find out (discreetly) what kinds of sporting interests our customers had. Understanding the delicate upward and downward movements of the various football and rugby leagues became an unofficial part of my job description.
But people’s needs and wants have evolved and become more sophisticated and nuanced. It is more acceptable and in fact encouraged to explore one’s creative self, expose our vulnerabilities and try something new. The enjoyment of the endeavour, rather than the output, is what is important.
And in an era where society has never been more connected and yet, conversely, never been more isolated, it isn’t surprising that more meaningful engagements are being sought out in all aspects of life.
In January I attended a rather unique bloggers networking event in the smart surroundings of House on Leeson Street in Dublin. The Bloggers Brunch consisted of a yoga lesson, a healthy (and super tasty) breakfast and a short but very effective opportunity to meet and learn from other bloggers. It was a refreshing change from the vast majority of networking events which tend to follow very standard tried and tested formats. As our yoga instructor rather serenely put it “People have fewer barriers when their bums are in the air”. So very true.
Also important is participation regardless of perceived talent or ability. When, I wonder, did we start telling our adult selves that we are not good or “useless” at something? Take art, for example. Our kitchen is practically wallpapered with our young sons’ creative works of art (which we of course compliment and marvel over) whereas my sole contribution to date has been to arrange them artistically on the walls.
So what’s next?
Meditation with Muesli?
Whatever it is, it will need to deliver to an audience of self-aware, health conscious and experientially focused individuals.
Meanwhile, I’m off to buy some paintbrushes.