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Happy Little Twitch: Bob Ross meets the livestreaming era with one artist

@M00fins shares his story creating art for a live audience

Today's featured interview is a Twitch streamer inspired by the great afroed luminary himself, Bob Ross.

Watching M00fins brings the soothing, soulful experience of watching a painter in action to a whole new medium.

In our interview, he shared more about how he uses the format to reach his audience.

What's your name or moniker as you create online?

Online I go by M00fins, M (Zero) (Zero) F I N S. My real name is Tony.

Tell me a little more about yourself - especially your background with art?

So surprisingly, there's not a ton. I actually was never very good with art. I didn't really pay attention to it through school. If I was drawing, it was usually stick figures. Oddly enough, I can't draw still, at all. I began painting due to my mental health being awful. I was having daily panic attacks over the course of a month. I was a new dad, and I wanted to make sure I was there for my daughter. I was at work and I think for more or less of a joke, we decided to turn on Bob Ross. I usually worked 10 hour days, so it was 10 hours straight of Bob Ross. I decided to try it myself, and just didn't quit on it. It helped me bring back so much of my focus and drown out everything else. 

I never took classes, nor did I learn in any traditional manner.

What do you see as your major influences, what figures or ideas have really shaped how you approach art?

Bob Ross. The methods he used are the same methods I use. He was my main teacher. Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists, and the story behind him just makes me appreciate it even more. While his style is vastly different, I hope to improve myself to the point of creating immensely unique paintings as he did.

I know you're on Twitch. Are there any other platforms where you do art?

Twitch is the main platform for the live shows. I use Twitter, Tiktok, Instagram and Etsy for most other things.

What's the art scene like on Twitch?

To my knowledge relatively small, at least from the "Canvas and Easel" Sense. I feel like there are a lot of hugely talented digital artists, and of the like that are on there. I have yet to see many others doing the same thing I am.

If there are other platforms you're on, how do they compare?

I tried YouTube instead of Twitch at one point, but found Twitch to be better to use.

How did the idea of the livestream come to you?

Seeing what watching Bob Ross did for me, I wanted to find a way to try and spread that exact same feeling to others. I felt that showing others that it's more about technique, and using your imagination, then actually following a painting step for step.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea of "public creativity," getting followers or viewers involved in the process. What does the involvement of your audience look like in your streams?

I would say most people use the streams as a way to relax, which I think is incredible. I have done a couple of dual streams where myself and another person who's never painted before, paint together. The stream has become a community of people who I think genuinely care about one another.

Think your work would make a great feature on Scryer? 

What does your relationship to the business side of art look like? How does it affect your process?

The business side is relatively small. I do offer the paintings for sale, as well as create items that have the art on them, (Mugs, Mousepads, Shirts, Etc.). I'd have to say it doesn't affect my process too much. I've always gone with the thought process of the painting and live streams come first, the business and sales side comes second.

Are you increasing the scale and/or scope of creating art online?

I think slowly we're gathering more and more people that are finding the benefit through art. Watching it come to life can help you just as much as doing it on your own. I think once more people realize that they CAN create, it'll continue to increase the scope.

What has the process of finding an audience online looked like for you?

Very Difficult. There's so many things out there, sometimes it can be hard to stand out. Luckily I've met a lot of really good people that have helped me along the way, as well as finding calm with what we're producing.

Any experiments you've tried that haven't panned out, any key learning experiences?

Every painting is basically an experiment. You have a vision, and sometimes it won't go exactly as planned. I've seen a lot of my paintings go awry to the point I wasn't sure how to fix them, and that really used to hold me up. The biggest learning experience was how to correct anything I don't like, or turn it into something else. Once you lose the fear of being wrong, you can only be right.