Look! It’s a demo….no ….it’s performance art….no…..it’s a….it’s an….it’s an Art Battle! Yes, there is such a thing and darn it if that wasn’t a whole lot of fun in a short span of time. Round One is complete and next month for Round Two, “Snarky Stiletto” herself (it was that nick name or “the Menopausal Momma”…what would you have picked?) will enter the um…..”ring” area and take on two new competitors. Posters should be out soon.
For those uninitiated like me, allow me to explain what I do believe is a type of franchise in theory. Google “art battle” and all types of things show up so the premise is already out there. Drawing upon memory here (and do keep in mind that I will be playing for the Senior Division Title as I am old enough to be the mother of most of these “kids”), this event was created by the Massillon Mastermind himself, Bili Kribbs (gotta watch the i’s because I know how important that letter is to one’s name) and his partner in creative crime, Billy Ludwig of the 13th Floor. If I am wrong, well so what, you just got some PR. Anyway….the idea seems to be to bring art to the people since often times people don’t go to the art, and also to provide an opportunity for underexposed, new, younger whatever artists so strut their stuff for the public in an easily accessible environment. Drink’n and draw’n, does it get any better?
Again, based on available brain cells, I believe 4 rounds occurred in 2011 with a final master battle blast for bragging rights after which all the works were auctioned off for charity. Of course I could probably look all this up to be sure I am correct, but yeah……well……it is sort of like politics, say whatever you want and worry about the truth later. If someone is really interested, they will check it out themselves.
Back to the battle,….now that I am in training for the next round, my coach (aka the husband) and I decided to check out the playing field since no game films were available. I was familiar with the outside of the venue as my son took music lessons next door, but I had not ventured inside before. Tell anyone the name of the place (Benders’s) and they jump to conclusions about the “other” more refined location to the East. This kid brother bar of the same name is a kick butt little corner tavern in the heart of football land so much so that it even has a giant football player painted on the wall outside. Kitty corner to the MassMu and next to a music store….I guess it could not escape the creative vibrations and became ground 0.
We tucked away our AARP cards and tried to blend in below the radar (wear black and don’t make eye contact) so as to be “hip with the kids” as the saying goes. No such luck….first thing I get is asked for advice on how to avoid wrinkles as one gets older…..okay, so much for sneaking in to observe. The answer is Oil of Old Lady and avoid the sun, in case you were wondering. I should have asked how they get that cool black eyeliner thing happening….if I tried that I’d look like I’d sneezed on my sharpie.
The coach and I got a drink and staked out a couple of bar stools to watch the event. Not too close and not too far away…good edge of the radar distance and not in any direct lighting to avoid looking too wrinkly. One competitor did not show (used to be two, now it is three) and a call went out to see if anyone would step up and substitute. The coach did not allow me to play because I can’t be on injured reserve for the big game next month….cocktail napkins had to suffice. The announcer explained the rubric (a new word in educational settings which means “rules or expectations” to the rest of us) and out came the competitors…hmmmm…seems we get points for style so…….. this could be interesting!
A topic is drawn from the box of audience suggestions (mind you, they have been indulging in adult beverages for a while) and then one hour (sort of) is put on the clock to do your best interpretation of that idea. There seems to be no limit on what one can use or do to the primed white board provided. In one corner was the traditional painter and in the other was the artist with an arsenal of an experienced competitor. If there had been three people in that space, one of them could have ended up on the wrong end of a saw blade. Good call on the coach’s part as I may have been missing a pigtail this morning.
An hour or so later, the judges for the night and the audience’s applause crowned a winner for the theme of “Funny Doomsday”. There appeared to be some awards although I don’t know who ended up with the Ultimate Grand Supreme trophy for the night when all was said and done, nor does it matter. The bar was full, the place was engaged in the activity as well as with each other, and nobody got hauled out on a stretcher and the cops did not show up. A good evening all around if you ask me.
So now I am in training for my turn on the stage under the clip on spot lights. I need to brush up on my categories just in case…..”the culture of those under 40 for a 100, Alex”….. and add some calcium to my diet. Don’t want to bust a hip or anything during the game. Better make sure I don’t do an illegal use of the brush and get penalized 5 minutes or fumble my pallet and get tagged for interference. Like any good competitor, I googled my competition (google is now an accepted verb in the English language) and could not find much….which means either they are very savvy at how to stay off the grid, or are too young to have much of an online resume. Either way, I am probably screwed.
So all you followers and friends out there, put this date on your calendar, Wednesday February 29th (yep, leap day thank you very much) and come cheer on the efforts of the elder generation as I prepare to do battle against “Urban Youth” and “The Hoopy Frood”. The clock starts ticking at 8pm. We should all be home in time to watch the 10’oclock news as always.
As I said, this type of thing is one of those hidden gems of an arts community which is thinking beyond the walls of a gallery, beyond the us versus them mentality of those who don’t quite “get it” sometimes, and making art what is should be, fun and accessible. There is a time and a place for the serious study of technique and the exhibition of hours upon hours upon hours of work, and then there is the “bring it on brush to board” test of creativity. So, thanks for asking me to participate…it’s like getting to sit at the table of the cool kids in the lunchroom. However, if you tray check me, I can still kick your ass….I may be older, but I got me a menopausal posse and some Stiletto Sisters waiting to back me up…once they get their makeup on and stretch out a bit, can’t risk pulling a muscle ya know.