How to Build a School of Hard Knocks

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Colossal’s Apprenticeship Program has three new graduates. Like everyone before them and everyone yet to come, these guys muscled through long months of blood, sweat, and tears to become fully-licensed walldogs. Hats off to the Class of ’17.


“They only want people who can deal with the bullshit, so they’ll throw all the bullshit at you. I would go home broken. I don’t know why I didn’t quit… I guess I’m just as crazy as them.”


“My favorite thing to paint was Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle album cover [for Pandora]. That was just yesterday! I painted dat mean old dog catchaa. I remember that album art so clearly from when I stole it from Target as a kid.”


“Everybody’s got a story about Spring Street. Everybody told me that if you kept your weight in the middle of the rig, you’d be fine. They didn’t tell me that if you’re over 200 pounds, the rig’s going to tip you through the hole between it and the wall.”

Not a straight and narrow path

Now, while Robin, Danny, and Darin look towards a long career with Colossal, Paul, who built the training program from the ground up, is taking a look back at the process:

“Colossal’s Apprenticeship Program grew out of the need to grow our business in an organized and sustainable way, even though there was no training method in place and no talent pool to pull from.

“We started by putting ads on Craigslist. We said we were looking for people who had alarm clocks and shoes (not wingtips), and who might have experience knocking over paint cans. We found a few, and we sent them into the field to learn from our expert painters. So began our journey of perpetually showering pedestrians in paints actually intended for our walls. Sorry, not sorry.”

Check out this old training video we dug out of the archives

“Colossal has always found its own path, and our Apprenticeship Program is one of the many examples of that. It’s thorny, and yeah, we forgot water; we’re getting swatted in the face by fucking branches, again, and we’re twisting our ankles in holes, and we keep finding ourselves back where we started. But we believe that it’s worth making a few wrong turns. That’s the only way you can get to a place that’s never been seen before.

“The Program will help you learn the techniques and application methods necessary for making a deadline. But more importantly, it’s designed to isolate and put to work the character qualities we know are imperative to our success: trust, integrity, strength, and awareness, to name a few. We like to say, ‘we can teach you to paint, but we can’t teach you not to be a chicken shit.’

“Nothing you see during the course of your apprenticeship will be comparable to anything you’ve been through before. The process, the people in it, and the people who oversee your training are in a constant state of evolution.”

“That might sound dizzying, and it should. Everything about what we do at Colossal is dizzying. It’s like trying to go left while also going right. It’s hard — actually, so far it’s kind of impossible — but fuck that, we’re going to find a way. The people who are up for that are the people we want pushing brushes at Colossal.

“We choose to work really hard for what we have created and for what we believe in. We surround ourselves with those who can not only help support our approach but who can also find ways to make it even better… and hopefully, who can show me how to go left and right at the same time.”

So you want to be a walldog?

If you can use a brush that’s great, if you’ve painted houses that’s better, but if you know how to use a hammer drill, that’s money. If you want to be part of a movement, work in an environment that’s both mentally and physically challenging and have a career unlike any other, then we’d love to meet you.

Send your resume and cover letter to [email protected] Tell us about the experiences you’ve had that support your dedication to the craft, and include a photo of your favorite pair of shoes.

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