Ever since I came across an art jamming cafe in Singapore and missed the chance of experiencing it, I was always on the lookout for something similar in India. Enter Bombay Drawing Room (BDR). Think lots of colour, laughter, music, food and the encouraging words of the founder, Snehal Patil, “There is no right and wrong in art. These are our own expressions.”
A picture is worth a thousand words
Art jamming or Painting Socials, a popular activity abroad is now picking up pace in India. It’s essentially people getting together at an eatery or a bar and bonding over painting and some food & drinks. The canvas, paint, brushes et al is offered by the service provider. And, the facilitator takes you through the whole process of replicating the said painting on your canvas. You later get to take your canvas home and proudly prop it up on your wall.
Out of the blue
Players like Bombay Drawing Room are one of the pioneers in this space. After attending and thoroughly enjoying my first art jamming session, I decided to chat up with Snehal to get to know her and her venture better.
Snehal Patil, Founder, Bombay Drawing Room
Originally from Nasik and an architect by profession, Snehal came to Mumbai five years ago to make it big in the city of dreams. After having worked with a slew of leading real estate companies, she realized her true calling was something else- art. Little did Snehal know that a house party with a twist which she hosted at her apartment in Bandra would be the genesis of Bombay Drawing Room. “This was back in August 2015 and I wanted to do something different with my house party. So I thought why not make people paint. So I called it the Bombay Drawing Room and sent out invites,” quipped Snehal. The pictures of the party went viral on social media and enquiries started pouring in from all quarters. Snehal decided to retain the name of the party for her venture because that’s where it all started from.
The first house party
The silver lining
The first public event was hosted at The Hive on November 1, 2015 which was a huge success. Snehal admits she was quite under-prepared and was overwhelmed with the turnout. Today almost 50 workshops later, she is confident and poised with several popular bars and eateries like Doolally, Cafe Zoe, Social, Havana to her credit. But this was not a cakewalk. Getting eateries on board was a challenge since this was a new concept and there was no benchmark to go by. Restaurants were apprehensive about their furniture getting spoiled and guests not ordering food. But once one event was conducted, they became more receptive and were willing to offer their space during non-peak hours to create a win-win situation.
The first public event at The Hive
A riot of colour
A self-taught painter, Snehal has dabbled with a lot of art forms including theatre, western classical vocals and kathak. But art is something that has stuck with her all through. Inspired by renowned artists like Mark Rothko, S.H Raza and Vasudeo Gaitonde, Snehal describes her painting style as abstract and she loves to play around with colours. This is evident in her art sessions where she encourages participants to have fun with colours and give a hint of individuality to their paintings. Snehal says, “I believe each one has his/her own personal style even though you’re not an artist. BDR is a platform to be yourself; I want people to have fun and express themselves.”
Painting the town red
And rightly so, the session was so much fun! It is two hours of sheer joy where your phones are away and you’re trying to discover the artist within you. You also get to meet new people from different walks of life and it’s an enjoyable social art experience. As Snehal puts it, it is meditative and everyone goes home happy. This is her ultimate objective- to touch people with art and take it to as many people who wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to it. “I want to build an inclusive community of art enthusiasts,” gushes Snehal.
BDR has lots of interesting things in the pipeline. Snehal is keen on integrating different forms of art like illustrating Haiku poems on canvas. How cool is that?!
So what are you waiting for? The sessions don’t require any prior painting experience! Just go with an open mind to experiment with different hues and maybe some willingness to get your clothes a little soiled, in case you go overboard 😛 That’s it and you’ll pass with flying colours!
If you happen to go for a session, do let me know if you enjoyed it by leaving your thoughts in the comments section 🙂
For event updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/bombaydrawingroom/
Art jamming sessions start at Rs 1500 per person