1. So, tell us a little about you.
Hello! My name’s Gareth. I’m 25 years old, and I’m one of the CoFounders of PopUp Painting & Events. I have a Masters in Political Economy. And when I’m not heading up our marketing team or running an event, I’m stuck in with political campaigns!
2. What’s your story? Tell us a little about your background and what you do.
Oddly enough, I have zero background or experience in art or painting. At school I was more interested in history, and never really saw ‘art’ as something to enjoy.
That started to change about 5 years ago, just before we started PopUp Painting. A friend told us that ‘sip and paint’ was all the rage in the US, so we decided to go over there to try it. To my surprise, it was incredibly relaxing and fun!
We now work with a team of artists and event managers across London and the rest of the UK, delivering almost 60 PopUp Painting events a month. I head up our marketing activities, and last year I completed a Masters in Political Economy of Europe – so still not that expert with the painting!
3. What artist most inspires you now?
I now have lots of little Klimt prints and bits and pieces in my room, but I don’t know if I would say I’m inspired by him. I think there are lots of young, contemporary artists who are striving to make a living from their art – and juggling loads of other odd jobs around to get by. That’s pretty inspiring. It’s a hard industry to crack.
4. What do you create mostly for work and what do you create mostly for fun?
I think people have a real habit to only talk of visual stuff as creative, or to think “I’m not creative”. But the reality is that all of us are creative on a daily basis. I’m most creative in writing marketing plans, and thinking of the next steps for our company. I think that’s just as creative as painting something – we just tend to undersell our creativity.
5. What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?
I recently tried to take part in #Inktober, and that was a lot of fun. I drew an Octopus surrounded by social icons with notifications, with the caption ‘I am not an Octopus’. I might have been channelling some stress… (attached)
6. Do you think people are just born creative or is it something everyone has, but many don’t explore?
My thinking is that everybody is creative – but that we learn to use it in different ways, and learn to think of ourselves as creative, or not. But why is designing an experiment or writing a business plan any less creative than painting a canvas?
7. What’s your favourite colour? Why?
Purple/Indigo. Associated with calm, confidence, and in with the Suffragette and LGBT flags.
8. What’s your favourite album to listen to whilst you create and why?
When I was doing my degree I discovered that the soundtracks to either The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit were excellent for writing essays to. That’s stuck with me since, for whenever I need to focus!
9. If you were stuck on a desert island and had to bring 3 items with you to create with, what would you bring!?
My laptop, a limitless supply of iced coffee, and someone to talk things over with. (Sorry to whoever gets stuck with me)
10. If you could give advice to yourself growing up, with the benefit of hindsight, what would it be?
Get stuck. Be a doer. Put yourself forward for things sooner. I feel like I’m hyperactive as an entrepreneur now, and that’s not what I was like as a child. (Also: get haircuts more regularly)
11. What / who made you decide to become a professional creative, rather than doing it as a hobby?
Unlike most people working in the creative industries, I imagine, I never actually had creative activities as a hobby. I love reading about history and economics, and playing Pokémon. So for me my new career has been an entry-point into creative activities!
I don’t think I would have done it if we hadn’t been told about it and been able to try it myself. And I don’t know if I would still be doing it if people weren’t so amazed by what they create by the end of an event! It’s really heartening to hear people say ‘wow. I didn’t know I could do that!’.
12. What makes you most happy?
Feeling like I’ve done a good job, and that I’ve helped someone realise that they really can do something.
13. What’s next for you? What you would like to be doing in 12 months?
We’ve recently moved to a new location near Liverpool St, so we’re doing more events ‘in house’ to compliment our ‘pop up’ activities in bars and restaurants across London. Hopefully in the next 12 months we’ll be in more cities across the UK, and in an even bigger home where we can do really themed and immersive sip and paint events.