We entered the hall to find eight blank canvases set up easels in the middle of the room. The contenders were introduced to the crowd and a countdown began — ten, nine, eight … three, two, one, GO. The battle was on!
Termed “Live Competitive Painting”, at Art Battle events, Canadian artists compete to create the audience’s favourite painting in twenty minute rounds.
I’ll be honest and say that when our friend Andrea explained what this was all about, while I did expect the experience of watching artists at work to be fun, I was skeptical that I’d be seeing good art. I mean, how good could something created in such a short time be? Turns out, I was wrong, because the artists competing in Toronto, for the honour of representing the city in the upcoming 2016 National Championship, turned out some excellent paintings at breathtaking speed.
Similar battles have been going on in cities across Canada, and the winners of those will come together in Toronto this coming Thursday, July 21st, at an epic competition — the grand finale of the Art Battle year — during which the country’s 15 best speed-painter, as voted upon by the audience, will be named National Champion.
Additionally, for those who are interested is seeing what these talented artists can do when given more than a mere 20 minutes, for the first time ever, this year there is also the opportunity to witness them at work over a two-day period, beginning on Wednesday, July 20th.
Hosted by Tanya Liliana, the Toronto events are held at The Great Hall, at the corner of Dovercourt and Queen Street West. For the semi-finals, we arrived early and got our tickets at the door, but the finals might sell out so tickets can be pre-purchased online here.
At the semi-final show that Nick and I went to with Andrea and her friend Dean, eight artists worked in the middle of the room, while the audience walked around semi-clockwise behind them, watching the paintings as they developed. Following each round, everyone voted for their favourite and two painters from that round advanced. This was repeated with a different set of eight painters, including a “wild-card” participant whose name was drawn from a number of former contenders who wanted a chance at the finals.
The four winners from those two rounds came together for a final round, ending with one victorious painter.
The finished paintings were displayed on tables and put up for sale in a silent auction, with a beginning bid of $75.
A live dj and a bar helped turn the exciting event into a party.
Round One :
↑ Counting the Votes ↑
↑ Andrea has volunteered at Art Battle, so was able to introduce me to the two people who came up with the idea and began the whole thing, co-founders Simon Plashkes and Chris Pemberton ↑
↑ Host Tanya Liliana ↑
↑ Silent Auction ↑
Round Two :
Round Three :
Congratulations to Meaghan Kehoe, who will be representing Toronto on Thursday!
Art Battle was really fun! If you can’t make it to the finals next week, you have the next season to look forward to.
Thanks for checking out my post,