Andrew Hammond and Michelle Drago: Throwing paint at the wall and seeing what sticks
Inside a vault in Old Sacramento, behind century-old concrete walls 18 inches thick, past an antique safe door worth more than $175,000, people can pay to release their frustrations. That’s the idea behind Andrew Hammond and Michelle Drago’s Frustrations, a business where customers check their patience at the door and chuck some paint at a wall while wearing protective gear.
The Old Sacramento business opened last week, and shares the space with Drago’s blow dry bar, which has been open for about six months. SN&R chatted with Hammond and Drago about the unique shift their business is taking.
So you all owned this business before and are just rebranding it?
Hammond: Well, I’ve had Frustrations in my mind for years. And I unfortunately have a little bit of a temper, so I’ve broken things over time, then I was like, man, that’d be cool—to integrate this, and to do this.
Do you ever throw the paint when you’re frustrated?
Hammond: I do. Well, she got her frustrations out on me by throwing paint.
Drago: I get frustrated with him, I now know what to do.
Had you been working here, too?
Hammond: Well, I had always helped her out. I’m the front desk manager. So that’s what we used to do, we’d come down here and sit, but we wanted to turn it into something else.
Drago: Old Sac needed something.
Hammond: We’re hoping that this takes off really well because we also have the mobile side of it where you can break things, things like TVs, windshields, printers.
Does the vault door stay open?
Drago: Yes. That big one is really real. We shut it one time, one time only, and it took two hours to get it open. The paint seized.
Hammond: … I took the mechanism out, so that way it’ll never lock, but it got stuck, and I’m like, “Oh, thank god no one was inside.”
Do you ever talk to people who don’t subscribe to breaking things as frustration relief?
Hammond: I actually have. I have talked to a few people—they’re friends of mine. When we were thinking about these ideas, one of them happens to be a counselor. She was just like, “Well, we actually try to teach people not to resort to anger and to hurting things or breaking things, we actually want to have them deal with it personally and inside.” I’m like, “Yeah—and then there’s some of us that like to break things.”
Where do you source breakable things, for the mobile side?
Hammond: I actually reached out to a few people. … The recycling places, you go there to take your printers, to get rid of all [your] crap. They actually have to pay for people to come pick it up and get rid of it. … They take the gold out, and they spend the time taking the motherboards out and whatever. Now they have the shell and the other components. … We made a deal where I can go pick up however much I want. And the same thing for windshields—I get their defectives.
Do you think throwing paint satisfies a different kind of urge?
Drago: I think it’s more for the family—families like to come in here. Because I know, I’m like, “What are we going to do today?” Little kids will like it, and we’re going to be adding little stuff as we go, but they can just come in here and have fun as a family.
Hammond: I think this is more emotional. I had a buddy come over—and he has brand-new twins—and I saw a different side of him. … The look on his face, just throwing the paint as hard as he could.