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Let Battle Commence
What do you do with 12 artists, a great gig venue in Bristol, and a golden paint brush? Well you host an Art Battle of course. It feels almost gladiatorial with the roaring crowd and the smell of beer. The Fleece in Bristol is much more used to hosting sweaty gig-goers than art fans but the atmosphere lets you know that you are in for a great night out.
What is Art Battle?
It could be summed up as a speed painting competition where the artists have 20 minutes to produce a piece of art on a stretched box canvas using only the materials provided. The artists bring nothing but their brushes and other tools (like palette knives). Local Art Battle producers provided acrylic paint for all artists to use. Art Battle Bristol is sponsored by Daler Rowney who supplied all materials and a small prize for the finalists.
The artists can paint whatever they like; however it has to be from memory, no notes, sketchbooks or source material; they have to come prepared to paint two pieces in case they make it through to the third and final round.
Art Battle rules do evolve, when they first started one round lasted 90 minutes, in 2020 they are looking at allowing artists to bring reference material and work in other mediums.
What happens at Art Battle?
The audience get to be Art Critic for the night; the power is in your thumbs. Using the App (iPhone or Android device); you can vote for the artist that you want to win, you can also bid on the pieces of art as part of a silent auction running throughout the night. There are 3 rounds in total with 12 artists split across round 1 and 2. After each round the 2 artists that receive the most audience votes go through to round 3 – The Final. Bidding for each piece opens at £5 with bids going up in £5 increments. The art was certainly varied and bidding strong – at the end of the night some lucky art fans get to take home the art they have fallen in love with, it’s a great way to connect with artists and support their creativity.
You are right there in the mix; the artists are placed in a circle and you are free to move around them clutching your beverage of choice, breathing down their necks as they seek to create something that will connect with you and express their creativity in 20 minutes.
The evening also had headline Artist Sophie Long @sophielongart Sophie is a previous winner of Art Battle Bristol and was invited along to paint live throughout the event.
6 artists were set at their easels and counted down
Create a Tornado people!
Our host and MC exhorts us to keep moving, to keep the energy up; and we move, like an art hungry shoal. You can become part of the art yourself if you get too close, one person we met was delighted that she was now part of the artwork, with bright yellow paint spattered down her leg; splash-back from a brush in action. Perhaps she should have got it signed?
The two winning artists from round 1 were Katie Bidder @Ivylouise.art
And Luke Edgar @luke_edgar
Why you should go
Most of the people we met had not been to an Art Battle before and enjoyed what they saw. For many it was a chance to be social and see something coming to life before their eyes, all this in an environment with far more energy than you get from walking reverentially around an art gallery or your local museum. Some were there to support their friends, and we were there to look for great new art. We took our Gallery Dog called Flo, and she spent the whole evening being worshipped and fussed over; which stoked her already massive ego to be honest. She will be such a diva from now on!
Another 6 artists were setup and counted down for the off.
The two winning artists from round 2 were Svetlana Mozhaeva @ruiq_reis_door_cultuur
And Davide Alves @dude.concept
Despite the competition element of the evening; two rounds and the most popular two artists from each round going through to the final round; the spirit in the room was positive and supportive, with artists chatting and exchanging stories between the rounds. It felt like a cross between a gallery launch, a party and sneaking a peek into the artist’s studio. Art Battle combines a great night out, a chance to catch up with friends, have a drink, listen to some music and watch someone being creative, what’s not to like?
Some artists such as Luke Edgar hadn't used much acrylics since he was in School; Svetlana Mozhaeva painted wearing a ruff. Most had headphones on to help them focus, because let’s face it not everyone likes jazz. So even within the rules the artists are still free to express themselves, and isn’t that what creating art should be about?
The final round had just 4 artists and each of them produced a superb piece of art
Katie Bidder @Ivylouise.art
Luke Edgar @luke_edgar
Svetlana Mozhaeva @ruiq_reis_door_cultuur
Davide Alves @dude.concept
And the winner is...
However the winner voted for by the evening art critics was Luke Edgar. He will go through to the final in Bristol on 26th March, and possibly onto the National final in London, if he succeeds there he could be on his way to the Art Battle International event In Tokyo in October. We wish him the best of luck!
The auction continued for another 10 minutes after the final had finished. Congratulations to all of the artists involved, as all of the 16 artworks created were sold as well as the piece that Sophie Long had created on the night. The proceeds from each sale are split 50/50 between the artist and charity.
Would we go again?
Yes, it a great way to see a variety of art genres in one focused period, a good social night out and a great way to tire out Gallery Dog Flo.
Did you go? - what are your thoughts? - Please leave a comment below.
The Art Battle Bristol Final is 26th March at the Ansom Rooms. Please go along, show your support and have a cracking night out.
See you next time for the next blog from We Have Your Prints.
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