A local Art Battle event, part of an international live painting competition, is happening at Factory on June 3rd. The winner will receive a free trip to the Art Battle national competition this July.
Art Battle has hosted more than 12,000 events all over Canada, the United States, and more recently in some South American countries. At the events, organizers provide canvases and invite artists to create a painting in twenty minutes in front of a live audience.
The audience votes on the completed paintings, and the winner of each round is announced immediately. At the end of the upcoming local event one painter will be chosen to represent St. John’s at the national competition this summer.
“It gives artists a platform to paint in a live setting, showcase their work, and compete, although it’s a very friendly competition,” said Brent McNamara, the local organizer.
As of right now, Newfoundland and Labrador is the only Canadian province that hasn’t hosted an Art Battle. McNamara has organized snowboarding competitions on Newfoundland’s West Coast and is excited to apply that experience to bringing the hybrid party/painting contest to St. John’s.
Having already organized several events at Factory, McNamara feels the venue has the perfect vibe for the province’s first Art Battle.
“There’s a DJ, there’s a host, there’s drinks, there’s music. You’re not going to a museum or an art gallery; it’s a Friday or Saturday night and everyone’s there having a good time, having a few drinks, it’s a party,” McNamara said.
Competitors can make pieces in any style of painting, using any type of brushes and painting tools they want. The one exception being that because the event will be held inside, artists won’t be allowed to use spray-paint (a medium that gets a lot of positive attention at other Art Battles).
For McNamara, one of the most special aspects of Art Battle is the wide variety of work that gets showcased.
On the Art Battle website, past participants talk about the unique thrill of painting in front of a rowdy audience, instead of working alone in a quiet studio.
Artists also describe the rush of making a piece of art in a tight timeframe, with the added pressure of the possibility of a free trip resting on the quality of their work.
“It’s just twenty minutes, it’s enough time to get a concept out but it’s probably a lot less time than most artists are used to working with…so it’s pretty exciting to watch,” McNamara said.
For the winning artist, it will be a great opportunity to not only visit another city and compete at the national level, but also to build relationships with artists working in that city.