Competing against time and one another, Fredericton artists raise their paintbrushes and palettes as their weapons.
In Fredericton, the event attracts hundreds of audiences crowded at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre to participate in this form of art on last Saturday. This is the third event of the season in New Brunswick, with the regional finals set to take place in June.
Art Battle Canada has been hosting live painting competitions since 2009, but art battles take place all over the world.
Andre Samson, the Fredericton organizer, said “It goes on across Canada, in many cities and towns across the country. Since that, it has spread to many places, like Brazil, UK. We plan to go to Germany this year. It became a really international phenomenon.”
All kinds of Visual artists can apply to compete in Art Battle, no limitation on style or theme.
Samson said,“ We receive lots of applications from a range of artists. There is no limitation to what you can paint, or the style you choose to use. There are abstract artists, realists and landscape or portrait artists.”
The competition is fierce. There are 12 artist and two qualifying rounds. The artists are given 20 minutes to produce a painting, to save time, some ditch their easels and paint on the ground.
Artistic style is not the only thing that varies. While the rules state that ‘the tools allowed are brushes, palette knives or any non-mechanical implements,’ Samson said that the tools used by the artists are varied and include tooth brushes, pine needles, bear hair and even the artist’s own fingers.
As artists work, guest move around the easels, closely watching the creative process. There are two qualifying and one finial rounds. Each group is judged by a live audience vote and the top four artists move on to round three. The artwork is put up for sale in a silent auction at the end of the evening’s festivities.
Seeing someone paint live is exciting for the audience.
Molly Davidson,one of the highest bidders, says the feels connected to the piece because she have seen it from start to finish.
“Watching a painting develop at 20 mines is actually something really cool. I think all of it kind of make you wanna buy it. Watching the painting develop in front of you, get the emotion of the product is really great,” Davidson said.
“The battle forces artists out of their comfort zone,” Samson has noticed. “A lot of them are perfectionists, always making sure that each and every shadow is correct. But in the battle, there’s no time to do that.”
Chelsea Landry ,the campaign of this year battle, won the Fredericton battle for the third times. She gets the chance to compete at the provincial art battle in June. The winner of that goes to the national Art Battle in July.
“when I paint the human figure which I adore, i idea of tatoo come to my eye. So doing art is really special,” Landry said.