Extreme Painting: Live Art Battle in Yaletown, July 3

Photo credit: andreboveebegun | Flickr

Painting isn’t usually thought of as an extreme sport.  But throw a bunch of painters into one room, add a stopwatch and a cheering audience and you get Art Battle: a competitive live painting event happening Tuesday, July 3, at 7 p.m. at Raw Canvas in Yaletown.

What does it all look like?  Picture Bob Ross after too many Red Bulls.

Painters have a mere 20 minutes to transform a blank canvas into a work of art.  Racing against the clock, they apply acrylic paint on an easel using brushes, palette knives and any non-mechanical implements they can come up with.

When the buzzer sounds, audience members then get into the action, voting on the best work of instant art.  It’s a unique opportunity to see art being made in an atmosphere that’s anything but stuffy and pretentious.  Afterwards, all the masterpieces are also available for purchase by silent auction.

Tuesday’s competition at Raw Canvas – a combination restaurant and studio at 1046 Hamilton Street in Yaletown – is the culmination of a whole season of Art Battles in Vancouver.   Throughout the winter and spring, competitors have faced off in five qualifying contests.  On Tuesday night, the winners of the first five battles – plus three wildcards – will put it all on the line in a final showdown.

The action starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, and unfolds in three, 20-minute rounds.  Four artists compete in each of the first two rounds.  The audience-picked top painters then advance to a final round.  And the prize on Tuesday night is more than just bragging rights: The winner gets an expenses-paid trip to the Art Battle National Championship, being held in Toronto on July 24.  Tickets to Art Battle are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

Apart from some adrenaline-fueled painting, the other big draw is the venue itself.  Raw Canvas occupies a funky warehouse space in Yaletown and serves cheeses and charcuterie paired with a nice wine list.  But the menu also includes canvasses.  If the spirit moves you, you can buy a blank canvas and they’ll provide the paint and brushes so you can start painting right then and there in the restaurant.

Anyone been to an Art Battle?  How was it? 

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