Art Battle hits Uptown this Friday

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Painting by Jess Buck
Painting by Jess Buck

If you are looking for an artistic, unique, and exciting event to attend this Friday night, look no further than the Sanctuary Theatre. Art Battle returns to Saint John as twelve local artists must create works of art in 20-minute timeframes in hopes of winning a $100 prize and a spot in the provincial finals this Spring.

The night is composed of three rounds of painting: one with six competitors, one with the other six, and one with the top two contenders from each round. At the end of the night, the art is auctioned off with money going back to the artists and to future battles.

The Baron reached out to Chris Pemberton, co-founder of Art Battle Canada, who says, “The goal of Art Battle is to connect artists to audiences, create community and help uncover the mystery of the creative process.”

Two artists that will be competing on Friday are UNB Saint John students Victor Szymanski and Jess Buck. Szymanski, who has competed and has made it to the Provincial level in the past, says his “impulsive, messy, scattered, and fast-paced” persona combined with his “love of performance and love of art” is a natural fit for this competition.

Painting by Victor Szymanski
Painting by Victor Szymanski

“It’s a lot of fun to just go inside with no plan and see what my brain does.” says Szymanski.

Buck, who is entering the competition for her first time after being inspired by watching past art battles, expresses her eagerness to enter this competition.

“What excites me the most is definitely the aspect of testing myself to create something original but extraordinary all at the same time.”

She adds, “the idea of testing your limits and creating a piece you’re proud of in twenty minutes is quite challenging, and I love a good challenge!”

These two artists have two distinctly different approaches to their artwork. Szymanski began in the twelfth grade after being inspired by “artists who can create a near to real-life depiction of someone’s face and personality on a canvas in like a half hour tops.”

Buck, on the other hand, did not begin until after high school when she picked up painting beach landscapes, nature, the body, before eventually moving towards more abstract pieces.
“I really love abstract,” she says. “I love the idea of everyone interpreting my work on their own and possibly having a different meaning for it.”

She also continues to say, “My art style is unique, I would say. I generally paint based on how I feel and when I’m not sure how I feel I just let my imagination wander and paint whatever comes to mind.”

While both students are certainly excited to compete, Szymanski is quick to express his admiration of the other artists. “I love the camaraderie that comes along with art battle. Yes, we’re competitors, but more importantly we’re artists and we need each other to thrive.”

Both artists encourage and hope that students attend Friday’s Art Battle. Szymanski says the concept alone is exciting to experience saying “it’s a lot of fun to see a painting come from a blank canvas to a finished piece in twenty minutes.”

Buck adds that the event is a great way to interact with the UNBSJ community “I’ve noticed many people involved are part of this community and I would definitely invite all students of any program and age to attend and get an idea of who is in their community.”

Art Battle 316 takes place at 7:30PM on Friday, October 16 at the Sanctuary Theatre, located at 228 Germain Street. Tickets are $10 for students and are available at the door or online at

Emily is in her third-year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's an avid plant mom and a stern black coffee drinker. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find her listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation.