I’ve been to a number of events at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre, there’s always a bunch of cool paintings, mini music festivals or some futuristic theatre performance. However, one thing I’ve noticed is there’s usually not a jampacked house, leaving you a bunch of room to mosey about and slowly take in the artwork scattered around the old building.
One of the only times I’ve seen a succession of cars crammed outside the place is during the centre’s annual haunted house. The exception to this observation was this past weekend when Fredericton hosted its first Art Battle.
What is an Art Battle? Well, it’s kind of exactly what it sounds like. It’s crazy competitive live painting. Twelve local artists signed up for a wild eve of paint whirling. Each warrior had 20 minutes to turn a blank canvas into some sort of aesthetically pleasing creation while a bunch of observers circulated like a cluster of swarming bees.
“I am especially excited to participate in events such as the Art Battle because it is a challenge and an experience that I am very grateful to be involved in. I did the live painting as a means to challenge myself and gain the courage to paint in front of people and to share my work with others,” said participant Katelyn White.
The first ever Art Battle took place in a Toronto living room five years ago. Since then, the painting affair has spread from coast to coast. Fredericton’s first Art Battle was a wild success which hopefully means we’ll have more of these pups.
As soon as you walked into the Centre’s doors there was a stack of people waiting just to get into the event. The battle started at 7:30 p.m. and 10 minutes later the crusade room was stuffed like some kind of Andy Warhol sardine tin.
The middle of the room was reserved for the war zone- a huge sheet of plastic was laid out with four easels set up in a circle. There was three rounds and then a final round for the winners of the previous rounds.
The painters drew their brushes as the audience counted down from 10. There was no hesitations as the artists submerged themselves in their work. Just after a few minutes, building scapes, flowers, faces and boobs were being formed.
Sweat collected on the artists’ faces as the rounds went on and the crowd circulated to classic punk music.
“What a rush it was. I had lots of fun and met some great people and talented artists,” said Donna Bird, one of the painters.