All of Bob Ross’ paintings are locked away inside a warehouse in Virginia
Even if you aren’t an art lover, you’ve probably seen some of Bob Ross’ paintings. His iconic fro and chill demeanor brought him millions of fans in the ’80s and ’90s. Following his death in 1995, people wondered what would happen to his paintings. To everyone’s surprise, they’re all kept in a warehouse in Virginia.
We don’t make mistakes
During his entire Joy of Painting run, Ross crafted 1,143 marvelous paintings. Today, most of these paintings can be found inside a warehouse in Herndon, Virginia. This warehouse is also the headquarters for Bob Ross Inc., which Ross founded to make income. “People see you on television and they think you make the same amount of money that Clint Eastwood does. But this is PBS. All these shows are done for free, Ross told The Orlando Sentinel in 1990.
During his time running the company, Ross would place his paintings around the office. “The paintings in the halls are paintings that have hung up in the Bob Ross Inc. offices since the ’90s. There are quite a few.” Bob Ross Inc. executive assistant Sarah Strohl told Atlas Obscura.
Just happy little accidents
Many people would wonder why Ross’ art isn’t hanging up in a museum somewhere. Well, the artist didn’t think it was a possibility. During an episode of Donahue, Ross stated, “Well, maybe it will, but probably not [at] the Smithsonian.”
In March, the Smithsonian grabbed a few of Ross’ paintings for their own collection. They didn’t simply fork over some cash to obtain these paintings, either. They were donated to them by Bob Ross Inc. With so many paintings to choose from, it was a bit difficult to make their selections. In the end, they chose Blue Ridge Falls and all three versions of On a Clear Day. Unfortunately, the public won’t be able to see his creations at the popular museum. The Smithsonian simply procured the items for their own personal viewing for now.
Fortunately, Chicago’s DePaul Art Museum picked up a couple of Ross’ paintings for their own exhibit. New Age, New Age: Strategies for Survival began back in April, and it’s slated to end on August 11. If that’s enough, Virginia’s Franklin Park Arts Center will hold the biggest showing of Bob Ross paintings in September. “Bob’s paintings haven’t been on display that often. This will be definitely the largest opportunity to come see them, Bob Ross Inc. executive assistant Sarah Strohl told the Washingtonian.
Let’s get crazy
Today, the love for Ross has been growing thanks to streaming service Twitch. In 2015, the service ran a nine-day Art of Painting marathon, which brought in 5.6 million viewers. The marathon was capped off with Twitch donating money to various charities. At TwitchCon 2017, streamer Edward Flabberjackson showcases his love with a colossal bead painting of Ross. “It’s great because this is irrefutable, undeniable proof that no matter what obstacle may lay in front of you—no matter how large, small, lumpy, spiky, bloody, stressful, the fear of loss, whatever it is—bead-by-bead, step-by-step, you can get it done. I feel like this could be an inspiration, just like Bob Ross was,” he told Kotaku.
Would Flabberjackson and other Ross fans be able to purchase one of his paintings? Unfortunately, that’s out of the question. “It never occurred to us to sort of change the whole concept that we’re not in it to sell paintings,” Bob Ross Inc. president Joan Kowalski told The New York Times. While you can’t purchase a painting, there are two aforementioned chances to see them in person. If those occasions turn out great, there might be more Ross paintings at a museum near you.