With the promotional posters promising flying paint, the Art Battle hosted by Charlotte Street Arts Centre in Fredericton on January 27th is pushing the boundary of visual art. Quiet galleries are inspiring on a Sunday afternoon, but what can be created on a Friday night with music and a buzzing audience?
Art Battle International hosts events all over North America attempting to shine a light on the talents of locally known artists. At a glance, the Battle consists of amateur painters who paint live within a time limit, with live voting also coming in from people online and in person. There are 3 rounds of the competition and every piece painted is put up in a silent auction at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre.
The event is grounded in the idea of fun and youth. Young artists and art enthusiasts no longer need to look elsewhere for fun Friday nights. Experimenting with excitement gives the art community an opportunity to draw in support from the larger community. Unfortunately, there is often a prejudiced idea of boredom surrounding visual art for people who don’t identify with the community at all and do not engage with art regularly. Placing visual art in a time-restricted competition, it draws in all kinds of people.
The creative process is undoubtedly altered for the featured artist. The time limit jumpstarts the planning of the vision and the finished work is often different from what they typically create.
“Cheer for me, and I will bathe in the paint of my enemies,” says Tyler George, a featured artist who is certainly a fan of the art battle’s focus on fun. The local artist is an abstract painter drawn to expressionism and colourful vibrancy.
Fredericton’s featured artists also consist of Kate Halliday, whose pseudonym is Yeah Okay, and says she’s “most inspired by the mystical and the macabre,” painting darker images while specializing in acrylic paint and ink.
Nat Perry is a competitor who works with watered-down acrylic paints and creates lots of abstract landscapes. Other local artists, Dani Auger, Norelice Mboutou, Bailey Hanson, and Keriann Aubé, were also featured in the competition.
The coordinators live-stream the competition on their app, but attendees can watch the competitors in their rushed creative process. Some artists think for longer than they paint, and some take the canvas on the floor and paint sitting down, all while audience members watch in awe. The end result is so often the focus but an event such as this battle offers a mesmerizing look into the artists’ minds.
The Art Battle International holds competitions in cities like Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto, and the talent is not lacking. Hosting one in Fredericton brings a big-city feel to a smaller, but passionate community. The fun nighttime atmosphere is sensational, and Fredericton put on an entertaining night for everyone.