Q and A: TikTok artist’s colours draw 4.three million followers | Information
NIAGARA FALLS, NY – It’s safe to say that there is no other working artist with a following like Fritz Proctor IV.
The 23-year-old Proctor made headlines for the first time as a young curator at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo and is a TikTok sensation.
The audience for his video short films is growing every day – now over 4.3 million followers – due to a simple process that is familiar to most painters: Proctor mixes and matches colors.
Proctor picks colors from his palette and can expertly match any color, from the milky brown of a Bologna slice to the bright orange in a paprika to the dark green of an incredible Hulk toy.
The “music” in his short videos is the sound of his spatula tapping his work area and marking a percussive beat as he mixes a selection of colors to match the object he is trying to replicate.
Proctor, who graduated from Niagara Falls High School and still has a family in the area, is now married to a photographer, Blair Proctor, and lives in Boston.
In an interview, he talked about how his life has changed since he went digital.
Q: I just saw your videos on TikTok and the world clearly loves them. How did you come to this?
A: It all started at the beginning of the pandemic. I painted a lot in my basement studio here in Boston and part of my studio process was mixing colors to match the color of the Home Depot color cards. It makes it a lot easier to think about what color I need in certain parts of my painting to get the right color. I would mix this color perfectly and apply that color to the canvas. My wife suggested we make videos of it and I did.
Q: Did the first video get views?
A: The first video started immediately. It has thousands of views. I just stuck to it. I just kept going because people were commenting, “This is so great” and “I love it.” What makes me happy is that a lot of young art students say, “This is inspiring,” and that makes me want to work harder. People with fears also find it therapeutic. They tell me, “I’m scared and watching these videos calms me down.”
Q: The videos are entertaining but you don’t use music which is the point of TikTok right?
A: I try not to use music because I think the sounds of the process are very important to the viewer. It’s a little bit academic too. Lots of people will be watching who aren’t really into art, but they will see a video of an artist mixing colors and suddenly they will be part of an artistic experience. You gain knowledge without knowing it. They have a really wide audience of artists and art lovers and those who don’t know anything about art.
????Q: Who is your inspiration?
A: My inspiration is Bob Ross from the PBS show.
??Q: You are very different from Bob Ross, but I bet he would love your videos.
A: He’s another character that people find therapeutic. People say Bob Ross invented ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). It’s a bit of a scientific term, but I’ve put the term into my tags a lot. It is a medical term that has become very popular online. They are people who make noises or do things that viewers find pleasant and relaxing. There are YouTube videos online of people playing with toys or popping bubbles. Bob Ross stuck his brush into the mineral spirits and tapped his brush. There are a lot of sounds on a Bob Ross show.
Q: How many followers do you have now?
A: It goes up pretty quickly. TikTok has 4.3 million followers and they come from all over the world. My comments are in Korean, Thai, Spanish, and Russian. I try not to incorporate too much language so that they have this reach and are relevant everywhere.
Q: People in the industry need to take care of you now. Did you have any offers?
A: I have a manager now. She approached me. She takes care of branded businesses. I was able to quit my job working for the Massachusetts Park System. I was a sign designer. I was only able to make this big jump recently. I could quit my job and become a full-time artist.
??????Q: How’s that going for you?
A: I just had a big show on BAM !, The Buffalo Art Movement. It was very successful. I sold a lot of pictures which was very nice and a lot of people got in touch and told me they went to the show. It was a difficult time at the height of the pandemic. People went out to see the show anyway, and that means a lot.