Freelance artist, music producer, screen printer and East Carolina University alumnus Jay Coachman wears many artistic hats but has most recently returned as the host of live painting and paint-along events at local Greenville, North Carolina, restaurants.
Coachman returned to hosting live painting and paint along events at Jack Brown’s and Mellow Mushroom in the month of August with the last event taking place at Mellow Mushroom on Aug. 29. Customers attending the events were given a pre-drawn canvas which they then painted alongside Coachman before food and drinks. Coachman said at the end of each event there is a giveaway for someone in attendance.
“Somebody gets to win the live painting that I did right there on the spot. It’s always a joy to see that because they don’t know that they’re going to get that,” Coachman said.
Mellow Mushroom host Damon Ambrose said Coachman’s live painting events were unique and a nice change of pace from the usual business that goes on in the restaurant.
“It was just a different type of deal that we normally don’t do so whenever people made a reservation for it you got your canvas and purchasing your canvas also included a small pizza and a drink,” Ambrose said. “It was just a package, I know one of the first times I was here, I think it was maybe like 10 or 15 people just sitting up here painting.”
Altogether, Ambrose said the live painting with Coachman was a success for everyone involved and Coachman is welcome back anytime.
“Yeah, the experience was really good and there are a decent amount of artsy people living here,” Ambrose said.
Coachman held two events at Jack Brown’s as well, where he was reunited with some of his former workmates from his time working in the kitchen at Jack Brown’s. General Manager at Jack Brown’s Adam Lorjuste worked with Coachman in the past and said he and Coachman have worked well together artistically.
“When I was kitchen manager, Jay was one of the guys who worked with me,” Lorjuste said. “I always knew he was big into arts and stuff, I got to be on his album that he just dropped and everything.”
Lorjuste said the events were more than just live painting from Coachman, but also an opportunity to see some of his merchandise which Coachman sells on his website, Coachman Creations. The events with Coachman were the first of their kind that Lorjuste could recall. He said Jack Brown’s environment and Coachman’s classes were a good pairing and mutually beneficial to one another.
“It was the first event of its kind that we’ve done here and I think it’s great because we have a cool space that’s kind of niche already,” Lorjuste said. “It’s already a cool space and then you have somebody like Jay who has all of his stuff together so we talked about it and it's been really cool. It's been a really enjoyable experience watching him do those paintings, seeing people interact with him and the dope giveaways.”
Coachman said his main inspiration for his artwork stems from his mother and her struggles with Lupus.
His mother is a main motivator of his work, Coachman said. He said he wants to bring awareness to those with the disease and the Lupus Foundation of America.
“My main fuel and motivation is my mom,” Coachman said. “Her being diagnosed with Lupus really shaped the way I look at life and create.”
While the local events are a positive way for Coachman to get some exposure in the Greenville area, he said the ultimate goal for his artwork is something much bigger.
Coachman said he has a global stage in mind, where his artwork could be showcased all over the United States and the rest of the world.
“My ultimate goal for my paintings is really just to have my paintings all over the globe,” Coachman said. “I want to have artwork in every major city in the U.S., I want to have artwork in every major city globally.”
Going global is something Coachman said he has experience with after studying abroad in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While abroad, Coachman was afforded the opportunity to paint a mural with his classmates which he said offered him a different perspective on art.
Coachman said his travels in UAE gave him the idea to take his art with him on tour back in the United States.
“Definitely, I love to travel and that’s kind of how I envisioned what I’m doing now,” Coachman said. “I kind of go on tours with my art, instead of a music tour, it’s like an art tour. Usually, whatever state I’m in I always find a way to host events, it’s just about connecting with the culture.”
A full scale event is not just limited to his paintings, but Coachman said it typically includes music, paintings and other forms of artwork from various local and independent artists. As for what comes next for Coachman in Greenville, he said he’s got his eyes set on a Halloween event.