Club Six showcases interactive art show "So You Think You Can Paint?"

Event attendee Melanie Picardo paints on the walls at the event, "So You Think You Can Paint?" which is put on every Thursday by Jay Frost at Club Six in the SoMa District. Photo by Andy Sweet, Special to Xpress.

Geordan Mallory didn’t come to Club Six for just drinks when she and her friend got paint smeared on their clothes while creating a surreal portrait of a dinosaur and a squid using paint brushes and their fingers.

Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Club Six opens its doors and walls to the people of San Francisco for a night of drink specials, music and free paint.

“So You Think You Can Paint?” is a different kind of art show. Instead of admiring the art that someone else created, spectators become artists using the tools provided and the large black and red canvases that line the walls.

Creators Jay Frost and Angel Cruz decided to make it a weekly event back in December 2011 after its successful premiere during an art crawl called “2 Blocks of Art” a few months prior in downtown San Francisco. Frost attributes the popularity of this unique event to people’s innate desire to use their imaginations.

“It’s freedom of expression,” Frost said. “You know we live in a world that’s getting complicated more and more each day, and it’s really fun for people to just get back to that primordial, kindergarten, creative output.”

The canvases fill up quickly with a variety of paintings throughout the night. To keep the creativity flowing, completed canvases are removed from the wall to make room for new ones so people can continue to paint. At the end of the night, they are all taken down and then repainted black or red so they can be used again the next week.

The free paint happy hour attracts a lot of art students from around the city, including Zachary Sweet, who studies animation at the Art Institute. He’s a regular at “So You Think You Can Paint?”, where he displays his surreal imagination through his paintings.

“It’s pretty cool being able to come back every Thursday to jam, paint and see new faces,” Sweet said. “As far as opportunity, this is like the best place to go for meeting people because it’s a mixed crowd.”

While some people go to show off their work and make connections, others go just for the fun of it. May 10 was Mallory’s first time at “So You Think You Can Paint?”; but she and her friend both loved getting messy with the paint.

“It wasn’t pretentious at all,” said Mallory. “It was actually really friendly, even the people that blatantly had more experience than everyone else.”

For those who have trouble getting in touch with their inner artist, there are 16-ounce cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon available for $3, well drinks for $5 and the tunes of DJ Matthew Robinson to spark inspiration. Robinson doesn’t plan what music he’ll play, but instead feeds off the vibe of the crowd to help him decide on the next track. He is very passionate about music and said he takes the crowd through a journey of musical genres from all over the world at Club Six Thursday nights including psychedelic jazz and vintage funk.

“‘So You Think You Can Paint?’ is different from other gigs; there’s an eclectic variety of people there and it’s not specifically a dance event,” Robinson said. “I play the kind of music that I want to hear loud and it just so happens this is the perfect event to showcase those soundscapes.”

Club Six is located on 6th Street between Mission and Market streets. For more information on special themes at the event, see Club Six’s Facebook page.

Club Six
Event attendee Leigh Connors paints on the walls at the event, "So You Think You Can Paint?" which is put on every Thursday by Jay Frost at Club Six in the SoMa District. Photo by Andy Sweet, Special to Xpress.