the changing workplace …

The Court Painter Studio Enterprise is perfectly aware that the majority of subscribers prefer 140-280 characters of text to hold their attention., however for the historical record it is necessary to test the limits of that textual endurance and launch into a fulsome description of the significant change in Court Painter’s 2021 workplace direction for revving up the studio to maximize profits and avoid hedge fund vultures!

For those who just like to look at pictures, Press Attache and prodigious picture picker A Hardon MacKay , has made a selection of outstanding past commissions meant to sooth the eye and create envy in the competition.

Calgary power couple entertaining at home.

A glance into the Court Painter’s studio a little past 6 am in the year 2021 : Fashionably masked staff arrive by a studio-sponsored Harley with a side car that features cushioned banana seats and Wi-Fi; acoustically accompanied by the familiar yet distinct boss throb of unmuffled cylinders. As unpaid studio interns social distance in single file, they are wearing weekend casual khaki, plaid jumpers and camouflage clamdiggers, even though it is a Wednesday. The studio kitchenette has green juice and kombucha growlers, which are free, as are breakfast pop up tarts and lunch in a cup. The studio is lined with easels and screens where remote portrait subjects pop up as talking heads. The Court Painter ,with his designer scarf flowing in the breeze, imperiously roller skates past everyone. Then everyone scrambles to find an easel—no one has assigned easels here— paintboxes are put down, and freshly cleaned painters smocks whipped from designer back packs are donned and finally over-the-ear headphones, and turn up the EDM to tune out the world for the next 12 hours. Everyone to a person knows they are part of a fresh art world and crushing it!

Sounds like Silicon Valley circa 2009, right? Well, surprise—this is the Court Painter Studio Enterprise in early 2021. More and more studios are adopting the art work culture invented by the technology upstarts. These are not the studios where Frieda Kahlo or The Painter of Light worked, clocking out at 5 sharp, eyeballing the corner easel. There is no corner easel here—just “creative hot spots” and open floor plans, wide as the prairie outside the window.

Court Painter’s studio used to be a sweat shop, but at least it had a clear purpose. You wouldn’t hang out next to your easel, let alone spend time there on the weekends. Then companies like Google came along and reinvented the rat race into something with purpose and, along the way, confused work with the rest of life. Now, your fellow unpaid studio interns are supposed to feel like members of a tribe. Hierarchies have been flattened, conventional job titles replaced by ones like “Banksy” and “Freida.” The vacation days are unlimited (not that unpaid studio interns ever take them). And forget about work-life balance. It’s all about work-life integration. Why else would the studio have on-site vending machines next to the nap pods with a choice of low fat nachos, organic snack boxes and $1 a bag sea salt popcorn after 7 pm?

These fanciful ideas were meant to liberate unpaid studio interns from the drudgery of the studio where they produce all the work and get zero credit. (that is an expose waiting to happen) Instead, Silicon Valley ruined work culture—not just for people in tech but for Court Painter’s studio. (which has an open washroom, a bring-your-low fat hot dog-to-work policy, and a cook book by the microwave where all bring your own food is free.)

The hallmarks of Silicon Valley work culture have now spread. Court Painter’s studio has its own in-office escape room full of paint by number sets and ready for team-building exercises. It has a slide that runs between the studio floor and the outside alley—in addition to the requisite Ping-Pong, foosball, and pool tables. There is a built-in meditation space, an on-call masseuse for relief from the long hours sitting at an easel, stretching canvas or cleaning brushes. Then there are the seemingly generous policies around vacation days and time off where unpaid studio interns are given the option to take two unpaid Fridays off per month . This is not just to be nice. “We think we’ll get a productivity lift from this perk,” A Hardon MacKay, the studio’s administrative human relations officer, whispered beyond earshot of the nosy staff.

The Court Painter Studio Enterprise has continued to modernize by modelling itself after a tech company, including a shift toward the agile methodology favoured in the Valley. “I have made trips to Silicon Valley, to meet with founders and investors in innovation,” says A Hardon MacKay. “I’ve brought back workplace ideas that have revolutionized our art studio practice. This has assured Court Painter can have liquid lunches and afternoon naps without being harassed by disgruntled unpaid studio interns looking for guidance on every paint stroke.”

According to AHM these workplace changes are necessary to feed the insatiable ever expanding celebrity and political portrait commission juggernaut. A juggernaut that mostly hedge fund clients continue to feed in their belief in the investment value of Court Painter’s work backed by the marketing savvy of his trusty sidekick A Hardon MacKay.