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Art Battle Canada aims to put local talent on national stage

Originally scheduled for Jan. 31 but postponed due to the weather, Art Battle Canada will be happening on Feb. 20 at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre.

Art Battle events have been happening throughout Canada since 2009, and involve 12 artists who have 20 minutes to create a work of art. The audience then gets to decide who moves on to the next round. This is the third year that events will be happening in Fredericton.

“We’ve gone from one event a month to more than 20 a month. From a couple of artists involved to over 2000,” explained Art Battle Canada co-founder, Chris Pemberton.
“We wanted to create a community of artists and art patrons that would inspire and connect people to each other.”

While many of the contestants are students and young artists, Pemberton says that the ages vary.

“In painting, skills continue to grow throughout one’s practice and the older painters can show us how it’s done. It’s quite remarkable to see such a variety at the easels.”

In terms of the young artist scene in Canada, Pemberton believes that there is a talent and drive found throughout the country.

“We’ve met so many who are just getting their start and willing to work wherever they get the opportunity. Recognition takes a while to build, so it’s important for youth to focus on improving skills and making connections.”

Though Art Battle has grown from a monthly event in Toronto to a national one, local art scenes are at the heart of the movement.

“Our events are based on local connections and scenes, so they are of great importance to us or any successful endeavour in the arts,” said Pemberton.

“You need to inspire the people, to help them to inspire others, and the live event is the best form of this celebration.”

Though events rely heavily on word of mouth, Art Battle Canada has grown into something much larger than originally anticipated. This year, there are over 200 events planned, with an International Live Painting Championship happening as part of the Pan American Games in Toronto. Ten thousand people are expected to attend the finale.

For Pemberton, it is an exciting opportunity not only for Art Battle Canada, but also for artists from around the country.

“It should be a new height of amazing recognition for the arts in Canada.”

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