PAINTILLIO || Engaging Collaborative Art Pieces

Learn by doing. 

That is the motto of a lot of entrepreneurs who have bravely ventured down a path of their own creation.

We had a chance to catch up with the Founders of Paintillio to get a behind the scenes look at how they came up with such a fun and creative concept to engage crowds at events and some lessons they learned along the way. 

We have seen Paintillio pieces pop up across Vancouver, at festivals, weddings, and community events. The murals are paint-by-number, meaning passerby can simply pick up a paintbrush and start filling in one of the numbered blocks on the mural. Easy to do, stunning results! Read on for our interview with the Jess and Lyssa from Paintillio.

Q: How did you come up with the concept for Paintillio (people/attendees of events coming together to paint a mural together)

Paintillio is the brain-child of our Chief Creative Director, Lyssa Kayra, who used to draw these custom paint-by-number paintings as wedding gifts BY HAND. People were crazy about them due to their hyper-realistic, photographic nature, including our Chief Business Director, Jess Devenport. She saw a business opportunity right in front of their faces and bam! Paintillio was created. Our vision is to celebrate, create & collaborate.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge getting Paintillio off the ground? Do you feel that the business has officially taken off yet?

We’ve been SO lucky in not having a challenge getting our business off the ground. We were doing a Paintillio as a gift for a friend’s wedding, when Ann from Dragon Boat BC approached US, asking for some large murals for their event. Since then, we’ve been working consistently to keep up with our clients’ requests for more! So yes, we do feel that the business has officially taken off, from the get-go.

Q: Do you foresee adding more team members and/or growing your business? How would you want to grow the business?

Yes! We’ve already added a brilliant software developer, a talented web developer, and an amazing marketing/copy editor to our team this year. We’d like to grow our business to a global scale which would mean adding more team members to the studio side of things (e.g. packaging, shipping, events management) and who knows what other positions we’ll come up with?!

Q: What would you have done differently if there is anything you could change from your first year in business?

If we were to have done anything differently in our first year of business, it would have been to hire our super-amazing-we-love-her marketing/copy editor, Jess Robson, right from the get-go! She’s speedily taken our business to the next level. She’s the best.

Q: Who are your mentors? Do you have any?

We tend to lean towards other businesses and business models as our mentors. We don’t have any singular person that mentors us; however, we’re really in love with how local companies like The Juice Truck, the Great Little Box Company & Patagonia conduct their business. We admire their passion as advocates for above and beyond treatment of both their clients and staff.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Our clients are our inspiration! We love seeing a variety of photos roll in on the daily - portraits, landscapes, pets, and even some really hilarious photoshop requests are what keep us going. It feels really great to provide something that brings people together in a creative, fun and personal environment.

Q: What do you do to pick yourself up when your business is having a bad day?

I wouldn’t say that we’ve had a “bad” day, haha. We’ve definitely had some more challenging days than others. When things become more difficult than usual, we turn to exercise. We both love yoga and the outdoors. Aaaaand hanging out with our pugs is always a sure bet in adding some sparkle back into our day when the going gets tough :)

Q: Entrepreneurship isn't always a smooth road, was there a situation that was particularly bad and how did you guys come back from it?

Our first order was a disaster! Well...not a disaster, but it wasn’t top notch. We hand-delivered the order to somewhere NOT close to where we live and drove away feeling GREAT. A couple of hours later, we received a confused phone call from the lady who was beginning her Paintillio. The numbers on the jars were all mixed up. We hadn’t double checked the software program when we put the order together and WOOPS! Haha, we immediately drove (so far) back to their place, apologized profusely, took the paints into our car and frantically organized them all correctly. Our client was SO amazing and instead of being angry, she thought it was funny...which it kinda was. We never did that again!

Q: What is your favourite mural to date?

It's hard to say because we're in love with them all, but if we HAVE to choose, our favourite mural is from the 2018 Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival, which also happened to be our 1-year-in-business anniversary! It was so much fun to see how Paintillio has evolved in one year, into something with a more streamlined structure and an extremely realistic final product. Last year, we were brand-spankin' new and this year people were coming up to our booth asking "is this a Paintillio?" WHY YES IT IS!

Q: If you can showcase your mural(s) anywhere, where would you love to see your murals?

Our goal is to take Paintillio across the globe. We'd love to create activations for communities everywhere! Our favourite places to create murals are at large scale festivals & events. If we could do that all over the world, we'd be living the dream!


We at Pendulum definitely see the potential for Paintillio to be seen at festivals and events all around the world. In a time when most people hide behind their phones at events, getting attendees engaged by collaborating on a mural, something that results in a stunning art piece which doubles as a conversation starter for years to come is pure genius. 


Jess Devenport & Lyssa Kayra

We found each other in 2008 (fresh out of university) where we both worked for a local arts studio. We immediately became besties and eventually purchased our own respective arts studio franchises within the greater Vancouver area. Up until 2017, this was our life...until Paintillio came along and we joined forces! So here we are, just doing our thing :)

What's next? Hmm. ALL OF THE THINGS. We're going to try our hand at this crowdfunding thing because we reaaaallly need a paint library! Currently, we mix all of our paint by hand. I know this sounds magical and fun (and it is!); BUT, it takes us hours upon hours to do this, when we could be using our time to build our business. Also, more festivals, some new kit sizes and lots of laughs. AND we have a few secret tricks up our sleeves that we'll be rolling out in 2019 that we're very excited about. Stay tuned for more fun :)

Jess Devenport BIO

Fun is the name of my game.

I’m an Ontario native splitting my time between Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast, and the rest of the world (since 2007). Possibly a bird in a previous life, I love to fly my way around the globe, always returning back to my (new) roots. My favourite past-time is pushing the boundaries between art and entrepreneurial- ship. I strongly believe in building meaningful relationships between community, art & self, for the greater human experience. People and passion are what drive me to be a creative. I love a good, strong cup of coffee, laughing out loud, and all things outdoors.


Creativity is the name of my game.

I grew up creating magic amongst marine-life on the remote island village of Kyuquot, just off of BC’s West Coast. My passion for nature began then and there; but alas, I’ll forever have the travel bug. Born to create, I can’t help but continue celebrating life’s many intricacies. My love is painting. My passion is beauty. My friends and family are life. What fuels me are color and nature (a hot cup of tea doesn’t hurt either). I’ve always had a knack for tying people together with a creative thread and I really love a good, clean joke.

Find out more about the Paintillio team and their services here.

All photos courtesy of Rob Nelson.