National Art Competition takes roots in Kamloops

Art Battle Canada now holds events in Kamloops, thanks to Michael and Jenn O'Brien

In an effort to bring more options to the arts scene of Kamloops, owners of 4Cats studios Michael and Jenn O’Brien decided to organize and promote a regional division of Art Battle Canada after hearing about the event from a local artist. As president of the Kamloops Arts Council, Michael says making art more accessible for everyone is one of the council’s objectives, and the Art Battle is offering just that.

“This kind of fits that bill, it’s accessible art for everybody. It’s something that anybody can participate in and do, as long as they feel they can do it.”

Another reason they jumped at the opportunity to host the event is because it is something that has never been done before here in Kamloops. Although the Kamloops art gallery has a similar art duel event, where artists dress in costumes and paint, it is not competitive. Art Battle also brings in multiple styles of art to each event, getting away from, but still including, the traditional styles that are more popular here in Kamloops.

“Part of what we’re loving here at Art Battle is we’re bringing all of these styles together,” Michael said.

In order to choose the 12 artists, Michael and Jenn review the submissions and try to incorporate as many different art styles as possible in the event, saying the goal is to “entertain the masses,” and make the battle even more unique.

The next battle will be held on Thursday, Sept. 15, at Cactus Jacks nightclub. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the battle begins at 7 p.m. The cost is $20 for general admission, but students can get in for $10 at the door with a student ID.

Twelve artists will compete for the crowds vote in three 20-minute rounds, spaced throughout the evening. People attending will have the opportunity to purchase these rare pieces of art in the silent auction that is held after the end of the third round. Organizer Jenn O’Brien suggests guests who are interested in buying art in the silent auction bring $50 to start, as that is where the bidding starts. In the past, pieces of art have sold for more than $150, she said.

Artists can join the competition free of charge and there is real incentive for local artists to participate in the battle. Beyond receiving local recognition and having a chance to sell their art, contestants who win multiple rounds are put through to the next round and could possibly make it to the nationals.

“There are lots of different variations that we will be excited to start spinning off, as we get our grounding over the next year,” Michael said.

For the time being, the Kamloops Art Battle will continue to be held at CJ’s nightclub, but it may be changed in the future to make the venue more accessible for people of all ages.