If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be inside a Jackson Pollock masterpiece, head to Primal Pigment in Verona.
Billed as Pittsburgh’s first splatter paint room, the basement facility at 722 Allegheny River Blvd. opened in March. Its sister business, Puzzle Room Pittsburgh, debuted six years ago and is located on the building’s third floor.
Jessica Dancisin, along with her business partners Michael Chiappinelli and John Zaccia, could fill a pool with the amount of water-based, non-toxic paint they’ve already gone through. Black lights give the liquid — and just about everything else in the 1,800-square-foot space — a glowing neon hue.
In addition to using brushes to decorate black canvases, parties of up to 10 people ages 3 and up can use squirt guns, blasters, slingshots and balloons to create one-of-a-kind works of art. (And, yes, there is glitter!)
If they make a mess in the process, it’s no big deal.
Let your artistic side go wild at Primal Pigment.
Before entering the splatter room, painters pick from three party packages, select your device and paint colors (there are eight options), watch an instructional video, select a playlist and don protective suits and goggles. Gloves are provided upon request.
Once the door closes, the paint starts to fly. As much of it ends up on the ceiling as on the canvases, which are placed on wall-mounted easels.
After about 30 minutes of creative chaos, painters discard their Tyvek suits and relax while their abstract art dries on a heated rack. The masterpiece is yours to keep.
Don’t feel like getting splattered? You can watch the action on a livestream video monitor in the lounge, which has couches, tabletop games, foosball and other activities.
Although walk-ins are welcome, Dancisin recommends reserving your hourlong spot online. The place books up fast, especially on Sundays when families and birthday parties roll in. Primal Pigment has even hosted a gender reveal party when the splatter room (which gets a fresh coat of black primer every now and then) was prepared to be doused in blue or pink paint. Date night packages for couples are on the way.
If you’re more of an analytical person, Puzzle Room Pittsburgh has three experiences priced at $30 each: Seeking Sasquatch, The Study, and Escape the Undead. For each adventure, teams are locked in a room and must work together to solve a series of clues and riddles to escape in 30 minutes or less.
It’s good, clean fun, although some of the undead décor might frighten young children.
Both Primal Pigment and Puzzle Room Pittsburgh are open from 5 to 10 p.m.on Wednesday and Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday, noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
“When you come here,” Dancisin says, “you can forget about your bills, your problems, your worries and escape into this alternate universe.”