#MondayMotivation: Paint Until You Like What You See

A New York City bartender on the art that fuels his night job.

May 22, 2017 ● 2 min read

As told to Priya Krishna by Lucas Geor | Images courtesy of Lucas Geor

Painting is one of the first creative memories that I have.  

Since I was a kid, it’s just something I have always understood how to do. I dicked around in most of my classes, except art. I loved the fact that there were no rules. If you think a sun should be green, you can paint a sun green. Paintings don’t ever have to look a certain way. If you feel something, you just do it.  

I tried a few different courses of study, but I kept coming back to painting. I went to art school. I developed my own aesthetic, partly inspired by Keith Haring, a New York street artist, but more semi-abstract. People started asking if I could do custom pieces of art for them, so I started to make some money off of my pieces. When I finished art school, I moved to New York to pursue painting, and I got a job at Two Hands as a bar manager. I’m the head bartender now.

Two Hands is my full-time job, but I still consider myself a painter. My art business is mostly commission-based—I get emails from all over the world from people who want paintings done for friends or family. I have had two New York exhibitions—one of them was at Two Hands—and I completely sold everything.  

I paint every single today. I go into my studio, and everything else becomes irrelevant. I don’t look at the clock—I’ll paint for hours. I’ll paint until I like what I see. I mainly work nights at Two Hands, so I can just spend my morning in the studio. I’ve found that when I don’t paint, I get frustrated. If I have a good, solid day of painting, when I go into work, I am more relaxed, happy, and enjoying the work I am doing.  

Painting is a stress reliever for me. It has given me an avenue to get inspired. I often draw inspiration for my art from my work—various bar scenarios and different drinks. And in my job, I am constantly meeting others, and they all offer me unique perspectives from which I can paint. The team at the restaurant has also been totally supportive of my hobby. A few of my paintings are up on the wall at our Mott Street location. But it does sometimes feel like I am living a double life. Right now, I’m wearing my paint clothes, totally covered in paint, and I’m about to go down to the studio. But in the evening, I’ll get changed into my nice black jeans and my work shoes and I’ll go into Two Hands.  

My paintings are the one thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about before I go to bed. Being an artist has flipped a switch in me that I can’t turn off. Painting is just this urge I need to fill. I have this creative energy that builds up inside of me, and I’ve got to keep expressing it every day.