It’s a Saturday night in North Hollywood, and I’m about to take a painting class. It’s not just a regular painting class, though. Everyone involved will be at least a little bit stoned. There’s a big sign on the storefront with a cartoon joint and the words “Puff Pass & Paint.” I have a pre-roll in my purse, ready and raring to go.
Upon entering the studio, I’m welcomed by instructor Austa Martin, whose clothes are endearingly completely covered with paint. Beautiful paintings created by Austa and the other instructors lined the walls of the studio, even the bathroom. Along the tables, easels are set up with canvases, paint palettes, water cups, brushes, and of course, ashtrays. There are also a few completed reference paintings, each one a little different: a version of a cityscape sunset scene. This is the painting we’re going to be creating tonight.
As we wait for more class-goers to roll in, I chat with Austa about how she started teaching these classes. “My friend saw [the job opening] and was like, ‘I think you’d be really good at this!’ and I was like, ‘That sounds like the perfect job.’ I hit it off with the owners and it’s worked out really nicely.” After teaching in Oakland for two years, she moved to LA and now teaches at this North Hollywood location. On top of this more traditional style of painting class, the studio also offers a mixed media collage class, abstract fluid painting (happily taught by Austa, as well, who is primarily an abstract artist). An “X-Rated” figure drawing class is in the works, too, with porn stars as models.
“Before, for wine and paint classes, you’d smoke in your car before, you know? But now you …
Author: Ashley Laderer / High Times