Sunday, May 17, 2015

Art Battle: Painting Becomes a Spectator Sport

A shot of the crowd during round one. Quite a nice turn out for an art event... the organizers must be pleased. 
Have you ever heard of "Art Battle"? From everything I've read, it started in Canada in 2013 and has taken off to become a national event. The competitions are now held across the country and thousands of Canadian artists have participated. I don't know if it's been done in other countries... but I've been hearing about these events for the past year and as I've had a few artist friends participate, I thought it was way past time for me to go check it out.

Artists in the first round, ready and waiting for the countdown.
I have no idea why I waited so long. Oh my god, it was so much fun. I was pleasantly surprised at the turn out. I imagine each artist there brought their people, but there had to have been at least a few people there that were in no way connected to the artists. They sold tickets, had a bar set up, had a DJ that played a nice mix of old and new tunes to keep the energy up, and the MC did a great job of keeping people moving around and engaged. The basic premise is this: 12 artists, divided into two rounds, each produce a painting in 20 minutes. The spectators log in online and vote for their favourite piece. Two winners from each round go on to the final, where the same process occurs. From those votes, a winner is declared, and that painter receives a prize... in this case I think it was $100 and a solo show at a local gallery. The winners from various battles in any one city all compete against each other a final event, and that winner then represents their city in the final Art Battle Canada event. I will be following the winner from this round, which was in Brampton (and is a fairly well known artist in the area) to see how he fares in the next competition.

This video is from the beginning of round one. It was pretty interesting to see what could be created in 20 minutes (I have a couple other videos from the event over on my YouTube Channel, if you are interested in checking them out). I'm not sure how I would approach this... I usually paint in layers, and need time for things to dry before going ahead. I would probably end up with a canvas full of mud. It may be an interesting way to challenge myself though... maybe something to consider for next year.

A friend of mine was competing at this event, artist Sandra Robson. She also uses layering techniques in her painting, so it will be interesting to get her perspective as a participating artist. Maybe I can get her to do a guest post.... I'll have to ask and see what she says.

Here are some photos from the event... I will identify the artists where I can. I was pleased to see a mix of young painters starting out and older, more experienced artists. Honestly, I thought the room would be filled with kids... especially after I was asked if I was a senior and wanted the senior discount by the 20something taking tickets at the door. Seriously. I'm in my 40s. If I look that old, I desperately need an intervention. Someone please help me.....

A couple of the artists chose to work on the floor instead of the easel. Only 20 minutes, so doable. 

My friend Sandra Robson. You can check out the rest of her work on her Facebook page.
I can't remember this artist's name.... final result was pretty successful.

Artist Ryan C. Thompson. He was the overall winner of the event.

Artist Sumeet Gill. I believe she went on to the next round... but I don't seem to have a photo to confirm that. 

Artist Seanre Bennett. You should have seen those pants by the time
he left. Covered in paint. Hopefully, that was the intention.

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