Art Battle

* A note * This is an entry I’ve been meaning to write since I attended Art Battle 12/13, and I still haven’t fully formed my thoughts because it’s Summer, and instead of writing, I am playing outside… but Art Battle is such an amazing event series that even if it were on the most beautiful night of the Spring/Summer/Fall, I would still choose to bypass the park/beach/patio and go get my art-on at Art Battle. So I give you a short little peak, and I will give you a more in-depth, inside take on it in the near future, complete with pictures and interviews with organizers, artists and attendees… perhaps when I`m sunstroked and can`t leave my apartment­.

Walking into the venue, there’s a sense of organized chaos; tickets that could be perforated, had they not had the trust in their attendees to just rip the ‘vote ballots’ in the appropriate spots at the appropriate times. There’s no need to be precious here. We get it; we’re voting for our favourites.

The Great Hall, a venue that makes you feel like you’ve walked along a crushed-velvet red carpet to attend an event with plastic wine glasses, is literally filled with gorgeous human beings; a veritable cultured meat market, except minus the potential connotation with bacterial growth. (Oh, maybe you didn’t think that way? Well, I did, and you’re reading me, so you’re on that road, deal with it).

I could describe the format, which was tweeted by Ivor Tossell as “I am at an event called Art Battle, which is like Iron Chef with art. 8 invited & 8 drawn-from-a-hat artists have 20 mins to paint some art. ” You could also just visit their website and find out for yourself, but I’ve made that process shorter for you by piecing together some of the descriptions from said site:

What is Art Battle?
Art Battle is live competitive painting. The audience watches, cheers, votes and bids in support of the artists and their paintings. Rounds are 20 minutes in length. 2 winners from each round will advance into the final and compete for a cash prize and the title of Art Battle Champion. All paintings created at AB are auctioned, the minimum bid is $60. Paintings that fail to meet the minimum bid may be destroyed.

Despite the fact that the very nature of the event, with its quick and dirty judging process, and its encouragement to make impulse bids on incredible art (I bought two pieces!), is to be rapid and public, there is something incredibly slow, calculated and meditative about seeing art pieces becoming fully-formed right in front of your eyes.

Some snarky criticisms against art battle (and one that may have even crept into my own thoughts. I KNOW, BADDD RIGHT?)  might include “but they could totally have prepared ahead of time, why don’t we TEST them by surprising them with a THEME?” but, um, this is how they make their living. Imagine if what you did on a daily basis was done in a live setting, with hundreds of people watching AND you couldn’t even prepare!?  This is live, this is competitive.  It’s like preparing for debate. You kind of know what you’re getting into, but you don’t know how you’re going to do until you’re doing it… and that is AMAZING.

So the next one, Art Battle 15, at The Great Hall at Queen & Dovercourt, is Tuesday, June 28th. Doors are at 730, and the painting starts at (artist-time) 8pm. You should go, because there`s booze, beautiful people, great music, incredible talent, and the opportunity to take home an original painting.  This time, for the first time, organizers and co-founders Chris Pemberton and Simon Plashkes, have decided to host a test gallery, where there will be an exhibition of paintings that were not produced at Art Battle, for viewing and sale!

Oh, and I’ll be there, so that should be reason enough!


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