By: Shawn Rogers—
Muncie, IN—A ukulele plays and a furry, blue monster hand comes on-screen and paints the words Paint By Monster and then, the monster himself greets us: “Hello everyone and welcome to Paint By Monster with me, your host, Easel Monster!”
And with that, we are in the studio of a monster artist.
Paint By Monster is a YouTube show about Art and being an artist, and is the creation of local artist Dan Wright, who, at 51 years old, says he feels like he is just now coming into his creative prime. Wright has been a professional artist for most of his career and may be remembered as the creator of the syndicated newspaper comic strip “Wildwood” which ran in the Star Press and about 80 other papers across the country from 1998 through 2003.
A few years ago, while Wright was producing animation and commercial puppetry, he had an idea for a show that would teach Art in an entertaining way.
Dan said, “The idea for Paint By Monster came as I was learning how to edit video and I thought it could be a way to put all of the things I have ever loved making into one show: humor; original music; drawing; painting; animation; sculpture; teaching creativity and learning about art history. So I sketched what the monster would look like and got to work.”
Wright designed and constructed the Easel Monster puppet of foam and fleece. Dan said, “He’s very standard ‘muppet- style’ construction and was built with a lot of love and a lot of trips to the fabric store. My wife Carrie hand-knitted his fur and hand-sewed all of his finishing details.” Wright also created the miniature studio where the show takes place.
Dan said, “The studio is about 5 feet long and took a couple of years to build. I still don’t think of it as finished. I add to it as I go, or I should say, as the show grows and develops. It’s a place I want to be every day and I still look at it and smile.”
Wright said he has 4 goals in mind for each Paint By Monster episode: to entertain with humor and a real love for the creative process; to instruct people how to think like an artist; to persuade people that excellence takes time and failure, but is worth pursuing; and to inspire people to Go Make Some ART!, which is the closing song for the show.
Paint By Monster has now been seen in over 70 countries and is picking up new traffic and viewership all the time.
“It’s so interesting that we are living in days where independent educational programming can not only find an audience, but can also become a viable enterprise,” said Wright. “The show is making a tiny amount of money for now, which is great!
“But far more satisfying to me is that I regularly hear from fans that they are laughing and learning and sharing the show with friends and family. It has always been my hope that each visit with Easel Monster would be a visit with rampaging joy.”
Dan Wright is a Muncie native and makes his home and studio in Muncie’s Old West End. All episodes of Paint By Monster can be seen on the Paint By Monster YouTube Channel.