Jessa Speed, founder of Portsmouth-based Paint Chill Co, has a simple aim: to bring the joy of art back into our busy adult lives. Regardless of ability Jessa believes, that by taking art back to it’s simple roots, we can all benefit. This philosophy is at the heart of her no-fuss, all-fun painting classes and kits.

We chatted to Jessa all about her business, her passion for art, and how Obby has helped her turn her ideas into reality.

Jessa teaching one of her Paint and Sip classes. 

When was the first time you started painting, and what drew you to it?

I grew up with a very skilled artist as a Mum, so I learnt to paint/draw/create from a very young age. It was an activity that brought both of us so much joy and it was how we bonded. Tragically at the start of my teens my Mum passed away, and I found it very difficult to create; as it was just too painful. It wasn’t till I met my partner in my early 20’s that I re-discovered my love for painting. Now it brings me joy again, and I feel that it keeps me connected to my Mum.

Students enjoying one of Paint Chill Co's classes.

What made you realise that teaching might be for you? And was it difficult for you to make that leap from creating for yourself to teaching others?

I first realised that teaching was for me when I worked out that my “common knowledge” of painting wasn’t so common! I feel that a lot of artists struggle with teaching for this very reason. They don’t understand how far they need to break [their process] down into really simple steps to ensure their students don’t get lost in the gaps.

The transition to teaching felt easy for me. Yes, at first, I was a little shy - I had never taught a class before - but I had a good idea in my head of how I wanted it to run. So, I just threw myself in the deep end and started teaching! Now, having 5 years of teaching under my belt, I feel that I can gage really well what my students need to know and how to keep them comfortable and confident with creating.

A creation from one of Paint Chill Co's Beach Paint Summer Date classes.

What encouraged you to join Obby both as a teacher and a business founder?

I joined Obby as the creative content and platform was really well laid out. It was also a bonus as a business founder to feel connected, and to have a little support bubble!

What has been your favourite student interaction since you’ve started teaching?

My favourite interaction has been presenting for corporate events. I have hosted corporate team paints for up to 100 staff, and it can be a very interesting dynamic. They are not necessarily the kind of people that would choose to paint, as they were booked on by their company. The transition from them feeling a bit uncomfortable, to absolutely loving it and being super proud of what they have created, is just so great to see.

Students enjoying one of Paint Chill Co's classes.

How has Obby helped you to grow as a teacher and business?

Obby has given me a really simple, easy to use platform to sell tickets to my classes, and to keep track of all my upcoming events in one place.

Any tips for aspiring creatives who are looking to start teaching their own classes? Or even start their own business?

Don’t over think it. Becoming an expert takes time but, for now, you only need to be one step ahead of the person you’re teaching. Book in a date and get started.

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