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High-speed Art Battle sees pieces created in 20 minutes

Art Battle Prince George is a fast-paced event that sees nine skilled artists put paint to canvas in a three-round showdown as crowd votes for their fav.
Art Battle Prince George 2024 goes Friday, May 3 at Knox Performance Centre with nine artists competing in three, 20-minute rounds of art making to determine the champion.

Art Battle Prince George is a fast-paced event that sees nine skilled artists put paint to canvas in a three-round showdown.

Spectators cast their vote to crown the champion and as the evening unfolds the one-of-a-kind pieces go up for auction.

Art Battle Prince George takes place Friday, May 3 at the Knox Performance Centre, 1404 Fifth Avenue, at 7 p.m.

“This is our ninth Art Battle Prince George and it’s a fun event,” Lisa Redpath, visual arts program manager at the Prince George & District Community Arts Council that hosts the event, said.

“This is a competition that is meant to challenge artists. It’s one of those novelty events that’s fun, it’s energy packed, it’s creative, it’s visual and the paintings just pop off the canvas and you really see artists in action.”

Redpath said she knows there’s a lot of preparation that goes into an Art Battle because the artist not only has to paint successfully but also has to be mindful of their subject matter ensuring that it will resonate with their audience as its their vote that determines the victor.

“Over the years there have been many mic-drop moments where you are marveling at the placement on that canvas and you just think ‘whoah – phenomenal’,” Redpath explained.

Well-known Indigenous artist Carla Joseph has participated in six art battles, four in Prince George, one in Kamloops and one in Vancouver and she’s coming back for more.

Joseph will be participating along with experienced and emerging artists during this year’s competition.

“The first couple times I did it, it was so stressful and I just started shaking when the lights went down and the music got loud and there are so many people watching you but now it’s just so much fun,” Joseph said.

Career-wise right now Joseph is selling her art all over Canada and is also busy illustrating children’s book and creating book covers for all genres so to take some time to create on-the-spot works during Art Battle is a complete departure, she added.

She’s been doing art for the last 25 years and creating has been in high gear for the last three years.

She’s ready to put creativity to canvas on May 3 and has been working on some time-saving tricks to keep things moving quickly.

“I tend to stick to what I know, like animals,” Joseph said. “I’m already a speedy painter and everyone seems to know that about me. I can get a painting  – a really, really nice one - done in two hours.”

Joseph said she’s already got a plan for what subjects to focus on during Art Battle.

“And I already have my little tricks I’ll be using and I’ve got my fast-drying paint – because you have to have really good paint because otherwise it’s really sticky and it’s not good to paint fast with that,” Joseph said.

Joseph keeps coming back to Art Battle because of the people.

“The crowd is always really great,” Joseph said. “They cheer you on, and it helps to keep you going – you never stop painting. You can’t just stop and think on what you’re going to do next.”

And she’s not going to be taking on this competition alone. She’s got her twin sister, Karen Erickson, and her daughter, Rebecca Joseph, joining in the fun.

“It’s going to be my daughter’s first Art Battle so I know she’s nervous,” Joseph said.

Other artists participating include Daisy Pipowski, Diane Levesque, Kat Tecson Valcourt, Lance DW Hanes, Nigel Fox and Raquel Pokiak.

It’s a really interesting competition, Joseph said, because the winner is based on spectator votes.  

“This is a great chance for any artist, no matter how far along they are, it’s based on what the audience likes and if they see your image and they like it - you win. That’s what I’ve noticed in the previous Art Battles – they don’t necessarily pick the artist that’s been painting for 25 years,” Joseph laughed.

“Everybody has a chance.”