A team of two, that works well together realized that one’s artistic skills and the other’s communication skills could be put to use for something that is more passionate and meaningful to the two of them. Thus began the journey of a wine sipping, painting workshop idea, which has today grown into what we know as Brushworks.

What were the stepping-stones towards Brushworks? We ask, wanting to know from the beginning?

“Ratish and I have known each other for close to 15 years. We worked together with the same company, as part of the same team. He was in design and I was in content. You know how you work really well with some people? There is a certain level of understanding, and you are on the same page. Ratish and I are like that.”

“While we were both at Logica, we would host in-house events. We were the go-to people for any kind of events, at work; so much so that, people started suggesting that we start working together. So we did! We started doing some freelance work, and one of the first events we did was painting custom made shoes. Around this time is when we realized that we DO actually work well as a team, despite our differences, and any differences we were able to amicably resolve.”

“Approximately a year and a half ago, we held a few pilot painting sessions with few family and close friends, and it’s been a great journey since then.” says Ivy, reliving the memories as she lets us in on their journey.

How and when exactly did Brushworks come to exist? We probe them to give us some more insights.

“We were on the lookout for things that we could do together. The idea, of ‘paint and sip’, where you sip on a glass of wine, and at the end of the session you walk away with a painting, was something that fascinated us. A friend of Ratish’s based in the USA was doing the same thing. So we reached out to her, to understand the business aspect of the same, how she conducted her workshops and so on.”

“When we started, we kept thinking that the whole concept is a very American thing, but we were excited that we were the pioneers, the first in India. The moment we put the word out for our workshop, we realized that there were many before us, who did and continue to host similar kind of workshops.“ Ivy continues, laughing at their own sheepishness as Ratish joins in laughing as well.

How did you decide to distinguish yourselves from others?

“We thought, it should not be limited to the one hour that they learn, but there must be a sense of achievement that the participants walk away with. A sense that, they wouldn’t have been able to achieve this by themselves at home.” Ratish adds in reflecting on their thought process.

“Our workshops are not for artists. This is for people who want to dabble in art – For people who don’t want to invest time in going to buy an easel, canvass, paints, etc. This is for people who just want to paint.“ Ivy points out.

What about the name – Brushworks?

“There were a bunch of names we came up with. We went around asking for suggestions and we were very keen on opting a name that we could trademark. One of the other names that we really liked was RIVR, which could stand for both of our initials, however, the name was already in use.”

“We thought of ‘Brushstrokes’ as well. Finally, we went ahead with Brushworks, as it was down to earth, simple and to the point. In fact, even our logo with the paint stroke like the font and a red heart is very simple but relevant to painting.“ Ratish and Ivy tell us unanimously about how they decided on a name.

How has Bangalore complemented this journey?

“Bangalore is a great place, and although a lot of people suggested us to switch to a franchise model, we are averse to it. Bangalore is a cosmopolitan city with a mixed crowd.”

“The stress levels with the corporate jobs and then over time work has given rise to a crowd looking for an outlet that allows them to let some steam off. The interesting thing is that people are now trying to look for different and unconventional ways to do the same. In fact, this also allows people to meet new people.” They provide us with an insight into the city we live in.

What do you think of the art scene right now?

“The art space is thriving because people today want to get away from their screens and want to use their time more productively.“ Ivy replied very aptly.

How did Dialogues come into the picture?

“We were scouting for places around the city, and Dialogues was one of the places we came across. We really liked the ambiance and the comfort that comes with the space. There is no limitation, we are left to do what we like and we are allowed to move around. This is our spot in Koramangala.” They say talking about their choices.

What’s the journey been like? Any particular challenges?

“The biggest challenge has been to keep the costs low and affordable. In fact, the two of us have day jobs so we can afford to do this, if not we would be in trouble.”

“Over the past one and a half-year we have conducted around 6o workshops. Our first workshop had zero registrations and today we have around twenty registrations for our workshops. Our youngest painter has been 4 years old, and the oldest is 86 years, a patient of Alzheimer’s, in fact, his paintings are one of the best. Overall the journey has been good!”

What gives you a sense of satisfaction?

“It’s very satisfying when we get phone calls from people, who joined in as novices at our workshops and have gone ahead to complete more and more paintings on their own.”

“Another thing that fills our heart with joy is that 50% of our sessions consist of repeat customers. In fact, we don’t even do much marketing, everything is organic and through word of mouth. It’s great to see the growth in our community.” The two of them say with contentment.

What does the frame of your picture look like?

Right now we are thinking only one step at a time. We do want to increase our base with corporates. We want to think of using art to conduct general training and communication training sessions. In fact, we have tried it at a few places and the response seems to be good. How can we use art as a medium?” They leave us with some food for thought.

We hope Brushworks grows into a bigger community and the arts, and its propagators like Ivy and Rathish continue to spread colors in a what would otherwise be a monochrome world.