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Why Is Bob Ross Still So Popular?

Bob Ross and the art community

The contemporary art community never took the work of Ross seriously. Ross thought his art was for anyone who ever wanted to put a dream on canvas.

One comment under the YouTube videos captured his work this way: "He didn't paint to show how good of a painter he was. He painted to show how good of a painter you could be."

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Why Is Bob Ross Still So Popular?

Why Is Bob Ross Still So Popular?

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/07/why-bob-ross-still-so-popular/614431/

theatlantic.com

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Key Ideas

Bob Ross

Bob Ross

"Every day’s a good day when you paint."

Bob Ross and the Joy of Painting

  • Bob Ross created and hosted Joy of Painting, an instructional television show that ran for years.
  • Even 25 years after his death, Bob Ross Inc. is still thriving. The official Bob Ross YouTube channel has over 4 million subscribers and more than 360 million total views. With the pandemic, millions of people have turned to Joy of Painting episodes.
  • Bob Ross had a level of positivity that was contagious. When someone can display that amount of peaceful happiness, it compels people to partake in the bliss.
  • Each episode feels complete. Before therapists knew to tell clients to be mindful and present, Ross told his viewers to appreciate every breath.

Bob Ross's magical draw

The show was as meditative as it was instructive. Ross put out pure positivity into the world.

In every episode, Bob Ross explained his art as a way of capturing the eternal beauty of the world. When he filled his canvas with color, he'd say things like, "This piece of canvas is your world, and on here you can do anything that your heart desires." When he painted a cloud, he might say, "A cloud is one of the freest things in nature."

Bob Ross and the art community

The contemporary art community never took the work of Ross seriously. Ross thought his art was for anyone who ever wanted to put a dream on canvas.

One comment under the YouTube videos captured his work this way: "He didn't paint to show how good of a painter he was. He painted to show how good of a painter you could be."

Bob Ross and the road to success

A lot of what we know about Bob Ross can be gleaned from his art. He always painted scenes of nature, full of trees and mountains and clouds, and filled with animals. He almost never painted people.

He spent 20 years in the Air Force. During this time, he learned to paint. He enjoyed painting more than the Air Force. He first joined the company of the German-accented television painter Bill Alexander. After that, he started his own show, crisscrossing the country, and teaching classes nearly year-round.

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