Let's jam with paint

Let's jam with paint

SINGAPORE - A weekend coffee run at a hipster-style cafe turned fund manager Isaac Chua into quite the artist, despite his never having wielded a paintbrush before.

This is because Mr Chua, 30, who visited Cups N Canvas in a converted 1950s Art Deco building along Selegie Road in June last year, decided to pop into the cafe's adjoining art studio as well.

There, the cafe offers art jamming, where individuals and groups of friends can paint whatever they like and as much as they want for a fee, with art materials provided.

On his first try, Mr Chua produced a painting of his dog in three hours and on a return visit, he painted a leopard. He is no Van Gogh or Lucian Freud, but the results were fairly life-like.

"I was actually quite surprised and impressed with myself," he says. The works now hang in his home.

While this freestyle painting activity has been around for a while, it is moving beyond sterile studios to more evocative places such as a bohemian cafe, a pretty tea lounge and even a sleek studio-cum-restaurant with a glittering waterfront view in Sentosa Cove.

To get a leg-up on the competition, art jam establishments are also opening more branches and giving patrons perks such as complimentary lacquering of finished artwork and free drinks.

Owners of these businesses say the "art jam" moniker came about because it is about amateur artists experimenting in a relaxed atmosphere, like musicians informally playing together.

In this region, the concept came from Hong Kong in 2000, where Meli Melo Limited claims on its website to have created art jamming as a way to combine art and networking. The company now operates an art jamming centre in Central, Hong Kong.

In Singapore, there are at least eight art jamming centres, seven of which started offering the activity between 2011 and last year.

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