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Painting under pressure

By Andrew Stokes, Communications Officer

Twelve painters will enter the studio, but only one will emerge as Kingston’s champion.

The regional final of Art Battle, a live painting competition that sees artists vie for audience votes, will take place on July 5. The previous four Art Battle competitions have featured Queen’s students and staff, and this year is no different.

Ania Ochocinski poses with her winning painting at February's Art Battle. (Photo Supplied) 

Ania Ochocinski (ConEd’14), a staff member at the Queen’s Learning Commons, is one of 12 finalists competing on Saturday. She advanced to the regional round after winning the monthly competition in February.

Just as with other Art Battles, Ms. Ochocinski was given brushes, acrylic paint and 20 minutes to create a masterpiece. With her canvas set among a circle of others, she painted as the audience slowly swirled around the easels.

“It’s exciting for the audience to see the creative process as it happens because they’re the ones voting — they have the final say,” she says. “Art Battle is part performance, part finished product, so their perception can be impacted by how you paint.”

The performance aspect is what makes live painting so interesting for Ms. Ochocinski. “There’s an adrenaline rush to it, which makes for a much different experience than painting alone,” she says. “Unlike a medium like singing where you can stand in front of a crowd and really pour your heart out, paintings are typically considered as a static, finished product. Art Battle lets you see the passion and the process behind the piece. You get to put your energy on display.”

While relatively new to Kingston, Art Battle was started in Toronto five years ago. Following its success there, it spread out to other cities, reaching the West Coast in 2012.

The winner of Saturday’s competition will get to compete at the national level later this month at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto against 20 other artists from across the country. A share of Art Battle’s proceeds go to the Sick Kids Foundation.

More information about this Saturday’s show can be found on the Art Battle Kingston website.