Sunday, December 17, 2017

Art Battle brings competitive painting to Victoria

March 16, 2016 by Alexis Koome, contributing writer

In October 2014, Art Battle—an event focused around live, competitive painting—made its local debut under the guidance of Angela Hillier, an artist who had just moved to Victoria from Ottawa. After completing her Fine Arts degree, she had participated in and begun volunteering at Art Battle in Ottawa, and she brought what she learned to Victoria.

“There are three rounds, and 12 artists compete at every event,” she explains. “Six artists are in each of the first two rounds, and the audience then chooses the top four, who move on to the third and final round. So each event’s winner is doing so with two paintings, between their first round and the final one.”

The night’s overall winner gets $100 and advances on to the city finals, which take place in June. The medium used is always acrylic paint, and the finished works go up for silent auction at the end of the night. There’s no theme and no guidelines for the artwork produced, only the 20-minute time cap of each round.

Artists hard at work during a previous Art Battle event (photo provided).

Artists hard at work during a previous Art Battle event (photo provided).

“We don’t want it to be limiting in any way,” says Hillier. “We don’t want an artist who usually does portraits to come here and have to be stuck painting a landscape.”

Art Battle is a fun and different way for visual artists to interact with each other, and it also gives onlookers a peek into the creative process. Watching first-hand as a blank canvas becomes a complete work of art adds sentimental value when a painting is then taken home and mounted on a wall.

“Painting is interesting because usually you do it alone in a studio and you could work on [a piece] for months if you wanted to, and people only see it when it’s finished,” says Hillier. “Here, they see the whole process, and the artist can’t second-guess anything because it’s all intuition; there’s no time to step back and reassess.”

Hillier says that when she first arrived in Victoria, she noticed a lack of events tailored toward new artists. Having now taken part in both sides of Art Battle, she says she’s enjoyed helping the event gain its footing.

“As an artist I really liked painting in it, but as an event organizer I prefer it much more because I’m giving opportunities to artists,” she says. “I think it’s really important that people dedicate their time to ensure these sort of events continue, to encourage new artists to express that creative outlet.”

After seeing how quickly Art Battle had become popular, Hillier branched out to create modified versions of the event to encompass other art forms. Completely separate from the Art Battles happening nationwide, she started another monthly event, Art Cafe, in November.

“Art Cafe is more relaxed, not a competition,” she says. “Artists have their work for sale and there’s live music as well. Also, once a month, they alternate back and forth between large-scale and regular-sized paintings. And a trajectory of that turned into Tattoo Cafe in January; after talking with some tattoo artists, we got them involved with live tattooing at the cafe events.”

Art Battle
7 pm Saturday, March 19
$10 for students, Victoria Event Centre
artbattle.ca

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