I truly believe that every person is an artist at heart, and, despite my utmost respect for the Old Masters, I’d still say that art is more about passion than skill. Given the necessary freedom, anyone can create a decent art piece, but few actually try. Some are discouraged after comparing their work with that of “real” artists, and as for me, it is the mess that I make of my room that prevents me from trying anything really unusual. Thankfully, there’s still a way to unleash your creativity and go all out by visiting a place like Art-Tir.
Located right in the center of St. Petersburg, just a few steps away from the Russian Museum, the Arts Shooting Range (which would be the literal translation) is a side-project of the Museum of Emotions, another fun venue which will definitely pique your interest. In essence, it is quite like an art studio, though a most non-classical one. Here, they don’t teach you the “proper” rules of making art; quite the opposite: you are encouraged to break them all and try whatever comes to your mind, from throwing “color bombs” at canvas to just splattering paints Pollock-style, and quick-drying the patterns you like with a heat gun.
The tools you can use are quite diverse: brushes, trowels, paint guns and many more; actually, I was surprised to see some people use a pottery wheel to paint using the centrifugal force. And don’t worry about getting plastered with paint: they sell disposable protective clothing at the counter, which gives you a fun, mad scientist kind of a look. Apart from those, the only things you have to pay for are paints and whatever you want to paint on, be it canvas, fibreboard, or even T-shirts. You are not limited in time, and if you aren’t finished by the time Art-Tir closes (which is about 11pm), you are welcome to come by on any other day. The paintings are stored for up to two weeks, which is also great as you would want them to dry before taking them home.
The place itself is very hospitable and has a carefree atmosphere, though it is advised that you call in advance if you are going in a large group, or book a visit via its Art-Tir’s website. It’s ok to test any ideas you come up with, leave messages on the walls, or even bring snacks in case you get hungry. The staff are always ready to give you a tour or provide tips on using whatever tools you choose, yet they don’t hover over you, which is often a problem with many arts studios. A creative mess all around gets you in a perfect mood for the most unexpected experiments, so all you need is to just come and start painting!
To sum up, Art-Tir is a place you should definitely try out. Even if you won’t become the next Basquiat, no one will ever say that you never tried, and a painting of your own will definitely become a great memento of your time in Russia’s cultural capital!