Warehouse Concert Hall, St. Catharines // Dates: Jan. 30, Feb. 27, March 27, April 24, May 29 & June 26 (tentative date).

Visual artist Sanjay Patel and musician Trisha Smith are co-organizers of Art Battle: a unique live painting competition where painters are given supplies and a 20 minute time frame to create a masterpiece while the audience watches. Today Magazine caught up with the pair to learn more about the monthly Art Battles at the Warehouse Concert Hall.

Learn more at: artbattle.com

How did you get involved?

Nine years ago I (Sanjay) started painting with Art Battle in Toronto. Two years ago, we moved from Toronto to Hamilton and the Toronto organizers asked if we could run an Art Battle in St. Catharines and Hamilton.

What do you like most about organizing the battles?

Art Battle is exciting for both of us because we are watching the careers of all the other artists start to develop. We like to watch them show people how they create their art. I saw how it changed my art career and the art scene.

Where did the idea originate from?

Art Battle started in Toronto by Chris Pemberton and Simon Plashkes. They wanted to create a place for performance art. Art Battles take place all over the world.

Who is Art Battle for?

You don’t have to be a critic or a fan of art to come. You will appreciate it and understand the value of what is happening because it is for everyone. The same people come to Art Battle every single month because the artists never paint the same thing. It is always a new experience.

What is the structure of the competition?

Each month, 12 artists participate. There are three rounds with six painters competing in each round. After each round, the audience votes on who should move forward. The top two winners from round one and two compete in the third and final round. After the last round the audience votes for the winner.

We provide the supplies so everyone has the same starting point. Everyone starts with the same supplies available to them and it is the best representation of their work in 20 minutes.

At the end of the night we hold a silent auction and sell all the paintings. The winning artist gets a cash prize.

What is the experience like for the artists?

As an artist you are always nervous, but when you participate your fears leave you. You are painting with lots of people supporting you. It is a different level of connection when you paint in front of someone. It is a great positive energy to paint with.

What would you like the readers to know about the event?

Art Battle is accessible to everyone. It is a casual event with music and dancing. It is amazing to witness. You can’t go wrong with Art Battle.