Who’s Bob Ross and why is the internet obsessed with him?

By Luiza Boiteux

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you probably know who Bob Ross is. Some of us have seen the familiar name somewhere in the wholesome pits of the internet, or you know his famous phrases, or you’re like me, and you are absolutely obsessed with him, to the point where it stops you from doing school work being a functional human being. Or perhaps you’re in an even worst situation, and you don’t even know who he is. If that’s the case, I’m unbelievably sorry for you.

If that is the case you know nothing about the man who should’ve won a Nobel Peace Prize, so here’s a little background information:

Bob Ross was born on October 29th, he was a painter and the creator and host of “the Joy of Painting”, and “instructional” tv shows about painting. The word instructional is in quotation marks because in reality no one really followed his 403 tutorials on how to do the same painting with different colors– everyone stuck around because of his wholesome personality. Back in the day when kids were sick and stayed at home from school, “the Joy of Painting” was the best thing to watch on TV.  Bob Ross’ soothing voice helped them fall asleep, because it kept their mind off of how bad they felt. This is evident in the quotes he used such as the classic “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents,” which is the only thing that has been keeping me motivated while taking the IB.  

Now, you are probably wondering why and how this painter with crazy hair got so famous. I’d say that happened due to meme culture; everyone knows Bob Ross from some subreddit on wholesome memes. However his popularity started in 2013, when a pair of Youtubers decided to fight each other in a rap battle. On one side was Pablo Picasso, who revolutionized the world with cubism, and on the other Bob Ross, who paints “happy little trees” and is probably the exact opposite of Picasso. The video hit 33 million views and in the comments we can see that most people cheered for Ross with comments such as “I think that, we all know in our hearts, that Bob Ross and his happy little trees are the ultimate winners…” Bob Ross made art seem like it was easy, like it was for everyone, not for this one Spanish painter that no one really understood.

Although most people see Bob Ross as a meme template, it is important to remember the lessons he taught us when he was alive, such as talent is pursued interest and to believe in ourselves. He even taught us to protect forests, since even trees need friends (that makes me cry every time). Anyway, whether you came here because you love him, or hate him or don’t know him, always remember to find freedom within the canvas of your life.   


Image Source:

Ross, Bob. “Bob Ross – Island in the Wilderness (Season 29 Episode 1).” YouTube, YouTube, 28 Nov. 2016, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLWEXRAnQd0.

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