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Watching Paint Dry Has Never Been so Fun – VUSAQ’s Art Battle

Brushes fly across the canvas, water spills, paint splatters. There’s one more minute left in this round of the art battle, and each artist is trying their hardest to win. 

I had the pleasure to attend an Art Battle organized by the VUSAQ equity commission this week. The battle supported Sprott House, Toronto’s first transitional home for homeless LGBTQ2SA+ youth. Between the great art, awesome music, and super cool people, it was truly one of the best events I’ve been to this year.

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For the uninitiated, an art battle is an event where anywhere a group of artists, each armed with a blank canvas and a pallet of acrylic paint, create the best work they can in 20 minutes. The audience gets to walk around and get an up close look at each painters’ process, and at the end of the round the audience votes for which piece they think is best.

Claire Wilkins, VUSAQ’s equity commissioner, started off the night with a speech on LGBTQ+ youth homelessness in Toronto.

After the painters grabbed their brushes, and the audience grabbed some pizza, the first round began.

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The theme of this round was animals, and I loved being able to see how each artist chose to depict their animal of choice.

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Nothing shows dedication like using your arm as a pallet.

My painting skills truly haven’t progressed since finger painting in kindergarten, so watching works turn from a few brush strokes into beautiful birds, lizards, and sphinxes (sadly not pictured), was absolutely mesmerizing.

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The final round was open, and members of the audience had the chance to volunteer to compete. The wide array of subject matter made this battle even more interesting.

DSC07401DSC07374DSC07385After numerous splotches of paint landed on the floor, and an intense and close vote (three artists tied for second!), the art battle drew to a close.

Each ripped ticket, seen here in the right corner, counts as a vote.

Each ripped ticket, seen here in the right corner, counted as a vote.

Close to $400 ended up being raised for Sprott house, and numerous gorgeous pieces were created! All in all, the Art Battle was a ton of fun, and I’ll forever gaze at the smudge of acrylic I got on my coat with fondness.

If you’d like to see some of the finished pieces, check out Caffiends in Old Vic, where they’ll be on display.

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