February 9, 2012

Art Battle 20

On January 31, the Idea Ghetto boys had planned to finally make it to out to the much-hyped 'Art Battle', the fierce race against time to create an original piece of artwork in the hopes of winning the adoration of a voting audience. We heard about it through recommendation from the brilliant James Fowler, who has been featured in past Art Battles himself.

Well, with an unforeseen work schedule conflict for Capital D, and Bam-Bam running late out of his night class, it was up to Wadé to experience (and document!) this great monthly event!
This evening took place at the Great Hall in Queen West, and as I entered the door to pay admission, I was asked if I was joining tonight as a patron, or an 'artist'. Puzzled, I answered 'patron' and entered the battle field.

The premise of Art Battle is simple, yet daunting. Eight canvases are formed in a circle in the centre of the room, with four of them 'reserved' by artists ahead of time. As the evening began, the other four spots were filled by names drawn out of a hat from self-proclaimed 'artists' who showed up at the door that evening.

The contest has three rounds of competition. The first round had all eight artists complete a piece of artwork, using only one medium (acrylic paint) their choice of tools, and 20 minutes to complete! As spectators, we milled about the circle of easels and it was fascinating to see the range of ideas and skill on each canvas!

At the end of the 20-minute round, each spectator used a numbering system on their tickets to vote for the piece they liked most. The two winning artists with the most votes went on to the second round, and all the pieces are displayed at the front of the room, as a silent auction with all proceeds going to charity.

My vote for Mathew Fierke's painting of a nondescript gentleman's portrait did not move onto the second round, but Jacqueline Poirier's barren wooden landscape did win her a place, as did Carlos Delgado's painting with an interesting 'fish-eye' view of a boy sitting on a dock under a clear blue sky.

As the second round began, Bam-Bam arrived, after finally getting out of class! Now the voting became more interesting for me! As we viewed and discussed each piece together, there were similarities we both agreed upon, yet when it came to voting our choices never matched! Case in point: I was drawn to the skill and technique from Kate Taylor, who joined in the second round, with her palette knife and monochromatic blue abstract treatment. B was more attracted to the morbid and darker portraiture piece from Olga Abeleva. Though our votes differed, both women were voted to move onto the final round!

Four easels were removed as the competition intensified. Carlos, Jacqueline, Olga and Kate began once more to produce another piece in less then twenty minutes. It striked me interesting how the four didn't veer from their personal techniques in creating their second piece. Carlos created a second piece from the same scene, but from the view point of the birds that were flying overhead from his first painting. Jacqueline created another stark landscape, Kate created another monochromatic abstract, this time in another colour, and Olga stunned us again with a creepy, yet beautiful female portrait. I should probably note that once again, I voted for Kate's abstract, and B voted for Olga!

In the end, it was Olga's moody portrait that won the final round, and Art Battle 20. This was such a brilliant night to experience in Toronto. Lots of positive energy in that space with the impulsive creation of art. It even made me wonder what it would be like to enter a future Art Battle, but next time as an artist! Who knows? Practice by holding mini Art Battles at the Ghetto??

If you want to attend a future Art Battle, check out artbattleto.com and sign up for their mailing list to hear when the next one will take place. Sign up! Go to it! It's fun!

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