By: Abeera Shahid

Good art takes time, but at Art Battle, that is not an option. Artists have 20 minutes to create a piece while the audience gets to watch and vote for their favourite piece in each round.

The top two painters from each round move on to the finals, and the winner of that battle receives a cash prize as well as the opportunity to compete in the regional finals and potentially the national championships.

On the evening of Sept. 14, Hamilton saw a unique gathering of painters at the Spice Factory for Art Battle, including students in McMaster’s Fine Arts program. Previously an annual event, Hamilton will now see monthly Art Battles leading to a regional final at the end of the year-long season.

Art Battle was started eight years ago in Toronto, and they now happen monthly across the country from Saint John, N.B. to Victoria, B.C.

Event organizer Sanjay Patel decided to bring Art Battle to Hamilton after participating in other cities and recognizing the potential for the event in an art hub like Hamilton.

Patel attended McMaster University’s Fine Arts program and now works in Hamilton as a full-time artist.

Art Battle sets itself apart from other events by offering the public a behind-the-scenes look at the artistic process.

“The beauty of art battle is that the engagement happens as the artists are creating their pieces… art is usually already done, on the walls, at a gallery. You don’t usually get to see process, and process is one of the things that I feel really connects the viewer to the artwork… It creates a greater attachment to the work,” explained Patel.

The public certainly gains insight into the art world from attending the event; however Art Battle facilitates learning for many painters. The competitive element and time constraint add a unique challenge that is not present in the artists’ usual work.

“The time constraint force[s] you to simplify what you do if you need to simplify it or find a quicker way of creating a likeness to what you normally do in your practice,” said Patel.

There is a certain amount of bravery needed for the competitors, who are actively allowing the audience to peek into their personal creative space.

However, Patel explained that the experience is ultimately empowering for the artists. “Once you get up there and the people are moving around. You lose them in the background noise, and it just becomes energy that feeds you in your creative process.”

Many artists echoed the same sentiment and felt it was a rewarding experience. The event allows their work to gain exposure, and a bonus is that they may find people interested in purchasing their art through a silent auction that concludes every competition.

Art Battle Hamilton is here to stay, and the perfect opportunity to explore art in a new way, interact with artists, and find inspiration to unleash your creative potential.

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C/O Grant Alan Holt

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