The iconic duo behind @VeryGayPaint offer advice on how to bring a pop of color, comedy, and community spirit into your next interior makeover.
For LA-based comedians-turned-painters Nicholas Scheppard and Jenson Titus, redecorating really does open up every color of the rainbow. Their brand, @verygaypaint, is one part functional, one part smile-inducing, and all parts fabulous.
We sat down with one member of the creative duo, Nicholas, to talk about how he and Jenson curate their style, wow their clients, and leave their online audiences in stitches—all before dinnertime (which is cooked by Jenson, not Nicholas, and don’t you forget it.)
Nicholas! Tell us about Very Gay Paint! We hear you “paint things in a way that is very gay.” Can you elaborate?
It’s true! We do paint things in a way that is very gay. Painting things in a way that is gay is a kind of visual storytelling that is hard to put into words. Shapes? Colors? Both very gay. (Not rectangles, but most other shapes). Most colors are also gay.
Surprisingly, periwinkle is not gay—beautiful spirit but definitely straight.
How does painting things in a way that is very gay benefit your clients?
Oh boy. First of all, there’s always an inherent benefit in breaking down the compulsory boundary that is heterosexuality. But also, painting and redoing your space, gay or not, brings newness to space. We starting painting gay shapes at the beginning of the pandemic at a time when everything was feeling very stale. We think everyone can benefit from a little refresh from time to time.
How did you go from comedy to painting?
Out of necessity, kind of. We were performing most nights of the week in LA, but once the pandemic hit, all of our shows got canceled. (An experience very unique to only the two of us). When we couldn’t do comedy as we did it before, we started painting for a different creative outlet. Once people started to notice our painting in ways we didn’t expect, we realized we had an audience.
Some of our comedy videos have nothing to do with painting. We do both things!
What’s one of your favorite projects that you’ve gayified? (Can we say “gayified?”)
We think saying “gayified” as a publication is maybe a no-go. But saying it as an individual? We love.
My favorite project that we’ve done was for an incredible Social Media Marketing Strategist in Palm Springs whom we met through Very Gay Paint. Since painting her home, we’ve developed this huge friendship that has carried on until today.
It was also one of our first retro stripe projects!
But yeah, because of the friendship element, that job has continued to be one of our favorites. We’ve painted big ceilings and pools and whatnot, but that simple Palm Springs job still stands as one of the most special.
How would you each describe your design aesthetic?
For Jenson, it’s chaos and tempo.
For me, it’s graphic minimalism. (We weren’t exactly visual artists by trade, so early on we learned how to do circles, straight lines, and other illustrative shapes).
What elements would you recommend to someone who is just trying to refurbish and freshen up their home?
My recommendation for someone looking to ramp up or alter aesthetics is to take a note from graphic minimalism—like the kinds you see in large murals. Whether that be in your furniture choices, in a nuts-and-bolts renovation, or in just decorating a room, I would say focus on large, affordable changes versus a bunch of little things.
Of course, you can still pull off maximalism with scale and simplicity. When I first started playing around with decorating, I bought a lot of knick-knacks and didn’t end up with a lot of cohesion. When we started painting it was like, “Cool, we have a lot of room to play with. How do we scale?” The answer: Get one big, maximalist chair that we’re really excited about.
What would you recommend to someone who’s looking to bring more color into their home decor?
It’s funny because I’ve been on this really wild color journey with the company over the past few years. Personally, I started very interested in neutrals. Any project with warm, sandy beiges got me excited. Two years later, I want to (and have been forced to through the interest of our clients) play more in primaries and maximalism.
If you’re bringing more color into your home, just try one out without fear of getting it “wrong.” Mind you, the whole idea of getting your color story “wrong” is super unique to paint when transforming a space. Paint is not expensive. It’s $15 for a quart and we can do something totally different and wrong, and then fix it and start over. Just find an affordable way to give yourself the latitude to make mistakes.
We know you own a lot of Caraway in your homes. (We sent it all to you). What do you love about your cookware, bakeware, and linens?
Okay, so one thing that’s really special—and I wonder how this will resonate—is Jenson does all of the cooking. What I love about our Caraway Cookware Set is it gets to be beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, which pleases me, but it’s also functional, which pleases Jenson. (Historically, Jenson hasn’t been concerned with what any of it looks like).
Our Caraway pans are gorgeous and tie into the color story in our house. Not to mention they are convenient, utilitarian and effective.
F**k, Marry, Kill: The Baking, Cooking, Painting Edition. Please explain your answer.
F**k — Painting because it’s sexy. As someone who became an internationl sex icon through painting (kidding...kind of), I can tell you that I think painting is the sexiest for me.
Marry — Baking because it’s really in line with my sensibility of being precise and specific.
Kill — Cooking. For me, cooking is not sexy. If Jenson is the one cooking, then the order changes if you know what I mean.
- Crayon color you wish existed: Festering resentment. It would be like a taupe.
- Most people need more_____in their lives?
soundDoes that translate? Basically people need more crackling vocal fry in their lives.
- When I need to feel creative I… …click and clack on a little keyboard.
- Your friends would describe you as… Diligent. It’s boring! I’m boring! My international sex iconship is through a long history of diligence and accountability.
- I_____while I work: Pray. But not to the God you're thinking.
- Favorite meal to make in my Caraway collection: I need you to note that this is one of the only things I can make: The Bon Appétit Spicy Sweet Pork Sambal Noodles. It’s an old Bon Appétit recipe that is really good. And yes, I do make it in the large Caraway Sauté Pan, which is endlessly easy to clean.
- Favorite song(s) to paint to: Jazmine Sullivan. Literally anything by Jazmine Sullivan. The voice of our generation. Finally she won some Grammys this year. God bless.
- One word to describe your style: Frisky.
- Favorite comedian: Jenson and I are going to have very different answers. Jenson would probably say The Muppets. My favorite is a standup from Canada named Debra DiGiovanni.
- Wildest thing you’ve cooked in the kitchen: Honestly, if we’re getting wild, we had a video in which I was a gay beaver and I had to cook a solution that would attach fake teeth to my real teeth. Admittedly, it was a disaster and a mess, but it created one of my sexiest and most iconic looks. The taste of melted plastic? Probably a health hazard.
- Caraway — cabinets or countertops: We have them niched on the stove as if I’m about to go use them. As if you’ve just arrived, and I’m like, “Hello! I’m about to go cook!”
- Favorite color to see on a plate: Beiges. I love proteins and dairy. I know veggies are gorgeous and stunning, but I love meat, dairy, and grains. Grains? She is the moment.