Bob Ross may be the most famous painter of the late 20th century. Host of PBS’s The Joy Of Painting, Ross has now become something of a celebrity on the internet. I have literally seen people cosplay as him at conventions. He has his own channel on Pluto TV and his own YouTube channel, both as of this writing, despite having passed away in 1995 at 52 years old. His is a strange phenomenon given his genre…unless you know his full story. The problem is the company that was built around Bob Ross doesn’t always tell you the whole story to hype up the brand. So what is the full history of the happy little painter? It’s more detailed than you’d think.
At least it is according to the research by Scott Niswander over at NerdSync, who brings us this documentary look at the history of man who did AMSR or however it’s spelled (it’s a YouTube genre I admittedly know little about) before it had a name. How did the man known for showing how much fun it is to paint and push the message that anyone can learn to paint pictures have a somewhat controversial start?
Here’s a link to the fixed bio page Scott made. If you click through to the YouTube video he links to his sources and links to the people who voiced the quotes. Here’s something he added in the comments:
Some presumed FAQs
SPOILERS FOR THE END OF THE VIDEO:
1. Did I actually paint a painting, or did I fake it? I really did paint it and I am super proud of how it turned out! Took me forever to cut through 8+ hours of footage because I was stopping to paint stuff for sometimes 20-30 minutes at a time.
2. Are you ever going to post it anywhere? Twitter or Instagram, maybe? Nope! But you can follow me on both of those @ScottNiswander for non-painting related content 😉
3. Did I experience “the joy of painting” while painting? It came in waves. I think it started with frustrations about not loading the brushes up correctly, but then the sky and clouds came together. Then I messed up the mountains, but some trees made it look alright. Then I messed up mixing colors and got really bummed and kinda started that part over. Then I finished up with a few more plants and it made the whole thing come together in a super satisfying way. It’s weird to say, but I genuinely can’t stop looking at the finished painting. Knowing that I was able to make that without practice is very rewarding, and does give me joy. I will paint again in the future. If only in an effort to pursue the habit of not posting everything I make online.
Also, the Bob Ross subreddit is very wholesome.
So what did Scott’s painting look like? That’s a mystery we may never learn.