A Woman (Our New Hero) Is Working Her Way Through The Joy of Painting

We are big Bob Ross fans here at mental_floss. From his work, to his hair, to, well, just about everything about him (seriously, everything), we’re Ross devotees through and through. But we may have found someone even more loyal to the cause. A woman named Nicole Bonneau is painting her way through Ross’s PBS show, The Joy of Painting.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Bonneau says she got the idea for the project after a particularly blissful binge-watch of the show with some family around the holidays. While it began as a casual musing, the many appeals of the project soon convinced Bonneau to embark on the journey. Among them? It’s a long-term stress-reliever and creative outlet, and art is in her wheelhouse (she studied painting at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design).

Of the 403 paintings from the show, Bonneau is only through 13 (that’s all of the first season)—a pace she predicts will get her to the end in about 10 years. While she says she wasn’t a big fan of Ross before the project, Bonneau did tell HuffPo that she remembers seeing the mild-mannered painter on TV when she was around 12 years old, and he had inspired the purchase of an oil painting set.

We can relate to Bonneau’s love of Ross’s incredible way with words. She told HuffPo: “My favorite thing is when out of nowhere he’ll say something incredibly dark. It’s so unexpected. For example, I feel like whenever he paints an old cabin, he always makes up some story about what happened to the owner of it. Sometimes [the cabin owner] has a bad drinking problem and that’s why he doesn’t take care of his house. Sometimes he falls into the river and drowns. It’s very interesting.”

You can follow “Almighty Painting” on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, and if you’re feeling inspired to follow in Bonneau’s brush strokes, you can find The Joy of Painting episodes on YouTube and Hulu.

[h/t Huffington Post]

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Ape Meets Girl
Pop Culture
Epic Gremlins Poster Contains More Than 80 References to Classic Movies
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Ape Meets Girl

It’s easy to see why Gremlins (1984) appeals to movie nerds. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, the film has horror, humor, and awesome 1980s special effects that strike a balance between campy and creepy. Perhaps it’s the movie’s status as a pop culture treasure that inspired artist Kevin Wilson to make it the center of his epic hidden-image puzzle of movie references.

According to io9, Wilson, who works under the pseudonym Ape Meets Girl, has hidden 84 nods to different movies in this Gremlins poster. The scene is taken from the movie’s opening, when Randall enters a shop in Chinatown looking for a gift for his son and leaves with a mysterious creature. Like in the film, Mr. Wing’s shop in the poster is filled with mysterious artifacts, but look closely and you’ll find some objects that look familiar. Tucked onto the bottom shelf is a Chucky doll from Child’s Play (1988); above Randall’s head is a plank of wood from the Orca ship made famous by Jaws (1975); behind Mr. Wing’s counter, which is draped with a rug from The Shining’s (1980) Overlook Hotel, is the painting of Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II (1989). The poster was released by the Hero Complex Gallery at New York Comic Con earlier this month.

“Early on, myself and HCG had talked about having a few '80s Easter Eggs, but as we started making a list it got longer and longer,” Wilson told Mental Floss. “It soon expanded from '80s to any prop or McGuffin that would fit the curio shop setting. I had to stop somewhere so I stopped at 84, the year Gremlins was released. Since then I’ve thought of dozens more I wish I’d included.”

The ambitious artwork has already sold out, but fortunately cinema buffs can take as much time as they like scouring the poster from their computers. Once you think you’ve found all the references you can possibly find, you can check out Wilson’s key below to see what you missed (and yes, he already knows No. 1 should be Clash of the Titans [1981], not Jason and the Argonauts [1963]). For more pop culture-inspired art, follow Ape Meets Girl on Facebook and Instagram.

Key for hidden image puzzle.
Ape Meets Girl

[h/t io9]

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.


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