Artists prepare for battle

Twelve artists will take part in live competitive painting at the Chilliwack Art Battle, coming to the Vineyard Community Centre Feb. 6.

Twelve artists ready their brushes for live competitive painting at the Chilliwack Art Battle

Twelve artists ready their brushes for live competitive painting at the Chilliwack Art Battle

Competing against time and one another, Chilliwack artists raise their paintbrushes and palettes as their weapons.

Following the sold out Chilliwack battle last year, Art Battle is back at the Vineyard Community Centre on Saturday, Feb. 6.

The concept of an art battle is simple, it’s live competitive painting. Standing at a blank canvas with only 20 minutes and an idea – that’s the daunting part.

Art Battle Canada has been hosting live painting competitions since 2009, but art battles take place all over the world.

Every year, eager crowds in each community watch and cheer as 12 artists – divvied up between two groups – construct 20-minute masterpieces. Each group is judged by a live audience vote and the top four artists move on to round three.

Last year in Chilliwack, artist Shannon Thiesen took home the cash prize and the glory for her painting of a woman’s face.

Twelve confirmed artists in the 2016 local battle draw from the Fraser Valley and beyond. Some are returning competitors, like Chilliwack’s Josie Bluer and Riley Charters. Most are newcomers to the artistic arena, including tattoo artist Dave Baran and talented young high school student Hyunjin So.

Artists often enter the competition having practiced a few ideas, but no reference material is allowed in the venue. It’s incredible to see what these local artists will come up with under the eyes and pressure of the crowd, the cameras, and the clock.

The artwork is put up for sale in a silent auction at the end of the evening’s festivities.

The battle champion is granted a spot at the Vancouver regional competition, where they have the chance to advance to the Canadian national battle in the summer.

“The battle forces artists out of their comfort zone,” event coordinator Zoe Howarth has noticed. “A lot of them are perfectionists, always making sure that each and every shadow is correct. But in the battle, there’s no time to do that.”

“I think it actually helps them learn new things about themselves, too,” Howarth added.

AB349 in Chilliwack is presented by Moda Events and sponsored by Julie Anne’s Art & Framing, CIVL Radio 101.7 and Lexa’s Perspective Photography.

Head over to the Vineyard Community Centre (45873 Wellington Ave) on Feb. 6 to watch the creativity unfold. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., painting begins at 7 p.m.

General admission is $20 at the door or $10 for students online. Visit to learn more.