(By: Ryan Rocca)
Art Battle, a live competitive painting competition, held an event at Toronto’s Grand Hall on Tuesday night.
Throughout the evening, visual artists had the challenge of creating a painting from scratch in just 20 minutes. The competition consisted of three rounds, with eight artists vying to create the most attractive painting each round.
The hall was packed as dozens of attendees came out and fixated their eyes on the artists in action.
“When you go to a theatre or you go to a concert you get to see those artists creating their art right in front of you, but a visual artist, most of the time, is alone in their studio,” said Morgan Booth, the manager of artist communications for Art Battle.
With Art Battle, visual artists had the ability to display their years of skill development in front of an audience too, Booth said.
The first Art Battle competition was held back in 2001 at a venue in New York City. Because of the event’s popularity, Art Battle then spread to other cities throughout the United States.
In 2009, Art Battle made its way into Canada with the first event being held in Toronto. From there, the competition spread to Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and other cities throughout the country and the world.
Tuesday’s event in Toronto was one of the many Art Battle competitions that have been held throughout Canada so far this year.
“When you’re painting at home, you have endless amounts of time and you’re comfortable,” said Shea Duffney, who was one of the competitors. “But when you’re competing, you have to set up a game plan.”
Sultan Jumataev, another artist who participated in the event, said that he too felt a sense of pressure in the night’s competition.
“It’s basically like when you have a big exam and you’ve been waiting for it for such a long time,” he said. “When you’re almost there you experience a lot of stress, but you’re also excited.”
Following the end of each 20-minute round, audience members voted for the painting that they thought was best. From there, successful artists advanced onto the next round. The artist who received most votes throughout the evening, Natasha Dichpan, now has a shot at getting to Art Battle’s regional and national championships in July 2017.
Before those competitions occur, Art Battle organizers say that they have many other events planned throughout Canada, nine of which are scheduled to occur in Toronto.
“If you come out to these events as an artist, you will meet a lot of great artists and learn from them,” Valdengrave Okumu, one of the Art Battle painters said. “If you’re an audience member, you get to see a great variety of artwork.”
Practicing artists and those interested in watching an Art Battle competition are invited to learn more about upcoming events on Art Battle’s website.
All photos by author.