Marijuana: Puff, Pass and Paint offers a 420-friendly art experience
Then, a friend told her to create a Colorado-style version of the popular Sip and Paint/Canvas and Cocktails events already happening: "Why not some kind of 420-friendly painting class?"
And with that, Puff, Pass and Paint was born, gaining steam and clients faster than Keyes could ever have imagined.
Westword caught up with Keyes this week to find out more about how she managed to become a professional artist and what it's like finding her way within the state of Colorado's new marijuana laws.
Westword: How did you get into painting as a profession?
Heidi Keyes: I graduated with my BA in Studio Art in 2009 and have been selling work since college as a side business. I had been selling work pretty consistently and getting a lot of requests for commissioned pieces, and the amount of hours I was putting into it wasn't jiving with working a 9-to-5 job.
About eighteen months ago, I figured that I would give being a full-time artist a try, and I'm pleased to say that I've been creating art as my primary source of income ever since.
HK: A friend and I were discussing the idea of doing a "cocktails and canvas" class, but instead one centered around enjoying weed instead of drinking wine. She suggested I actually give it a try. At first I thought of it as kind of a joke, but I started putting some feelers out, and people were really into the idea -- like shockingly into the idea. It made me realize that this is the perfect time and place to start a painting class that is 420-friendly.
WW: How do you think the atmosphere will differ versus the wine-and-art classes?
HK: I think the atmosphere will be extremely laid-back, and people will care less about if the piece they're painting is "successful" than if they are just enjoying creating something. I'm a professional, but I will also be a laid-back instructor, and I will totally encourage people to move away from what I'm "teaching" and do their own thing. I was talking about this idea with a friend, and he said, "That sounds like so much fun, but I could never take that class. I'm a horrible artist." And I explained that it wasn't at all about that. I want people to totally get into painting, if they're feeling it, and make something awesome, but it's really more about the environment.
WW: What kind of feedback have you gotten since you announced the idea?
HK: The feedback has been...overwhelming. There are so many of these marijuana-based small businesses popping up with the recent legalization -- "ganjapreneurs", I've heard them called. But surprisingly, Puff, Pass & Paint is the first and only business of its kind, to my knowledge. I'm running the business out of my private studio at my home, so I can only fit six people maximum per class. My first two classes filled up in a day, and people are already asking when the next ones will be scheduled and requesting classes for private groups, which you can do with four or five people. It's really, really exciting.
Continue to read more of our interview with Heidi Keyes about Puff, Pass and Paint.