Wednesday, March 3

How young people rediscovered Bob Ross on Twitch in 2020

“We don’t make mistakes, only happy little accidents”, “There is nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend”: no, these sentences do not come from a philosopher, but from Bob Ross, painter and television host.

Several times a week, this smiling, relaxing and permed artist gives live oil painting lessons, in front of hundreds of thousands of viewers. On Twitch, his channel has nearly 1.6 million subscribers, and has inspired many Internet users during the lockdown.

Specializing in landscape paintings, everyone agrees that his show, “The Joy of Painting”, is as calming to follow as an ASMR session. It must be said that in addition to having a soft and tender voice, Bob Ross is a follower of words of love for nature and benevolent encouragement to his viewers.

But if the image seems dated to you, and Ross’s style a bit “has-been”, it’s because this program is actually over 35 years old. Aired between 1983 and 1994 on the American channel PBS, “The Joy of Painting” was an art show where Bob Ross painted and taught his techniques to the public.

Between two brushstrokes, he liked to tell a few anecdotes, thank his listeners for their presence, declare his love for trees … The show ended a year before the death of its host, in 1995.

Bob Ross, star de Twitch

But while he could have remained in oblivion, Bob Ross and “The Joy of Painting” gradually became cult. In 2015, the Twitch stream platform broadcast a first eight-day Bob Ross marathon, on the occasion of the artist’s 73 years. Stunned by the enthusiasm caused by the painter’s return, Twitch then decided to broadcast all of the 400 episodes of “The Joy of Painting”, from October 29, 2018. Several times a week, Bob Ross was then in direct, and always paints more imaginary landscapes.

This is how the new generation discovered this program, and its host, as unusual as he is sympathetic.

On Tik Tok and Youtube, he has inspired many parodies. We try to reproduce his perm, his relaxing tone, his very own phrases … But other more serious Internet users were keen to take his painting classes, in order to pleasantly fuel their confinement. In 2020, Bob Ross was clearly the person to follow to relieve stress. And it will still be valid in 2021.

This text was originally published on the HuffPost France.

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