Art Battle offers instant artwork before your eyes

Vancouver presents live painting competition

By Julia Siedlanowska, Staff Writer

Art Battle is an exciting live painting competition that happens all across the country. There is no shortage in entertainment as 12 artists centred around an island of easels paint live in front of a crowded audience.

The artists are split into two groups of six with an opportunity to compete in two rounds. In the first round, the six artists have 20 minutes to complete their work, after which the crowd votes for their favourites. The next group does the same, and the top two artists from each group compete in a final round. The winner gets $500 and a spot in the Vancouver Finals in July.

“[It was] just a bunch of artists getting together and coming up with a good idea,” said Bill Higgins, the organizer for Art Battle Vancouver. “It’s a national competition. It started in Toronto, but now it’s spread all across the country.”

The fact that it was indeed a good idea is easily proved by the turnout. Art Battle 86 was held on January 14 at the FanClub on Granville Street, and the venue was packed. The atmosphere was fantastic as a wide range of painters and patrons gathered to take part in the event.

“The turnout [has] always been amazing, but the thing I love about it is the diversity of the turnout. And the diversity of the turnout has a lot to do with the diversity of the painters. You get the older, more established artists, and then you get the young and up-and-coming, and that puts a different spin on it,” said Higgins.

The different demographics certainly allowed for a fun and inviting atmosphere, and with a live commentator, watching someone paint couldn’t have been more exciting.

“You can really tell when someone’s frozen up,” commented a regular spectator anticipating the show. “They’re not used to painting in front of people, so some of them have already practised what they are going to do.”

The event is also a great way for the artists to gain exposure of their work. It’s a fantastic opportunity for artists to sell their pieces, as all the paintings are available for auction at an affordable starting price of $50 for an original piece. If you don’t get a piece, there’s always the memory of watching it be created before your eyes.

Asiza, one of the four runners-up, joined the competition because she “thought it would be exciting.”

“I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to be watched while I paint. I thought, ‘This is a great way to face your fears and start the new year by doing things differently.’”

In the end, Alison Woodward won the competition, with painters Annalee Kornelson and Olga Abeleva as runners-up. All finalists from this year’s Art Battles will compete in July.

With tickets priced at $10 for early birds and $15 general admission, this is a great event for all occasions and ages.