Play
Dispatches May 7, 2019

Bob Ross’s Strategies for Survival

What does Bob Ross’s art say about the natural world? (Bob Ross name and images are registered trademarks of Bob Ross Inc. Used with permission.)
bob ross

Bob Ross is one of the most beloved painters of his generation, and he focused almost exclusively on the outdoors. Depicting the “happy trees” and “friendly mountains” of Alaska and the greater western U.S. for his TV show, The Joy of Painting, he earned a following that has only grown since his death. But surprisingly little is known about his life. Famously private, he granted only a handful of interviews and never really spoke about his deeper motivations. So how should we remember Bob Ross, and what does his art say about the natural world? Data journalist Walter Hickey took on these questions, analyzing all 381 of the paintings Ross did for his show. What he found will have you looking at the artist in a whole new light.

Bob Ross’s Strategies for Survival Podcast