Art Battle (the Gladstone Hotel being another).
Usually the artists paint as individuals but the week I attended, they featured the first doubles battle. Pairs of painters worked on their creations in tandem while retro music like Blondie's Heart of Glass was played by a DJ spinning vinyl records. The crowd moved in a circular counter-clockwise pattern to view each team at work. It was fascinating to see the various painting styles and to watch each painting further evolve each time you passed by again. Some teams sketched outlines of the final image and then filled in more details, tones and textures. Others started with a colour base and then layered on more and more paint so that it took a while to recognize what their final image would be.
Art Battle is held on a Tuesday evening, so being a work night, I was only able to stay for the initial two battle rounds. Overall I was really impressed by the artists and what they could accomplish in such a short period of time, with the pressure of a crowd of people surrounding them and literally breathing down their necks. In the first round, one team tried to creatively make their painting three dimensional by punching a hole through the canvas. I'm not sure how successful their result was judged to be, but it was amusing watching them go through the process. They seemed to be in a real "battle" with the canvas itself.
On the second round, there were only 5 registered teams so two volunteers were randomly picked from the crowd to form a sixth team. I thought this was extremely brave of the impromptu pair and that their result was actually a respectable effort.
This was a really fun night and a unique experience. The next week, they were promoting an event called a "cage match" where the artists try to paint in an enclosed arena while also sabotaging each others works by knocking them down or painting over them. Watching a video clip of the cage match on their website, I don't think this is for me. It seems more of a spectacle than an artistic endeavour and I prefer just to watch the artists paint.