Inside an Art Battle

Art Battle is a global live painting competition that pits a group of artists against each other to see who can produce the best painting within the allotted time. In 2009, Art Battle arrived in Toronto and held its first competition in The Great Hall (1087 Queen St. W). Today, The Great Hall hosts a monthly Art Battle with world-class artists. I checked out a recent Art Battle to show you what these exciting events are all about.


The event begins with all spectators receiving a ballot slip. This is because the audience decides the winner of an Art Battle. Whoever gets the most votes after a round is declared the winner.  


The setup involves an ensemble of canvases side-by-side in the middle of the floor. This allows the audience to rotate around and look over the shoulders of artists as they’re painting.


Art Battles are usually 20-minute rounds with one painter per canvas. However, sometimes there’s a spin. These rounds allow teams of two painters to combine visions for a total of 30 minutes.

All the artists are given access to the same brushes and acrylic paint. No extra tools are allowed, and colours have to be mixed on-the-go. The variety of artistic styles at Art Battle range from hyperrealism to highly abstract, so you’re bound to like something no matter your taste.


And it has begun!


With the painting part of the round now over, audience members are free to peruse and decide which painting they think deserves to win. All paintings are then put into a silent auction for bids from the audience. Here are the final pieces:


Artists grab a beer and show off their other talents, such as breakdancing, to kill time while the crowd casts their votes.


The winner is announced. Congratulations to Leanna TenEycke and Sanjay B. Patel!


Katie Liang
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OCAD University's Florence Program Visiting Artist + Speaker Series welcomes STANZIE TOOTH

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 - 4:00am to Thursday, April 7, 2016 - 4:00am

OCAD University's Florence Program is hosting a Visiting Artist + Speaker Series which brings six international artists, critics and gallerists to our international campus to engage in artist talks, critiques and individual studio visits. This unique opportunity offers students insight into how a successful international practice is developed as well receiving critical feedback on their independent studio work. 


Stanzie Tooth is an MFA candidate at the University of Ottawa 2015. In 2007 she received her BFA from the Ontario College of Art & Design with an award for excellence in painting. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada including “60 Painters” at Humber College, an ambitious overview of contemporary Canadian painting. Stanzie is represented by General Hardware Contemporary, Toronto.

Organized by Linda Martinello, Assistant Professor / CLTA, Faculty of Art, OCAD University


Venue & Address: 
OCAD University Florence Campus
Poster for the 2016 Florence speakers series

OCAD University's Florence Program Visiting Artist + Speaker Series welcomes JESSICA GROOME

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 5:00am

OCAD University's Florence Program is hosting a Visiting Artist + Speaker Series which brings six international artists, critics and gallerists to our international campus to engage in artist talks, critiques and individual studio visits. This unique opportunity offers students insight into how a successful international practice is developed as well receiving critical feedback on their independent studio work. 



Jessica Groome received her BFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2007, and her MFA from the University of Guelph in 2011. Her art examines the systems of belief that motivate contemporary and 20th century abstraction. Invested in the authentic, metaphysical potential of abstract work, she researches optical painting, minimalism, and the transcendent school of thought; her practice employs faith while maintaining skepticis and uncertainty. She was a semi-finalist in the 13th Annual RBC Painting Competition and the recipient of the 8th Joseph Plaskett Award. Currently, she is based in Berlin, Germany and Vancouver BC. Her work has been exhibited across Canada.

Organized by Linda Martinello, Assistant Professor / CLTA, Faculty of Art, OCAD University

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University Florence Campus
list of artists and bios of those speaking in the 2016 Florence speakers series

Astral Plane

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 4:00am to Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 4:00am

A collaborative installation project by Nicholas Robins and Christopher Benjamin Speck that explores the artists’ internal geography and shared personal symbology. Constructions, wall paintings and curated displays will transform the gallery into a personal, spiritual, interior landscape.

Opening Party:
September 13 (6-9pm)

Venue & Address: 
Student Gallery
Opening Thursday September 13th 7PM-9PM 52 McCaul St. OCAD U Student Gallery Sep 5 - Oct 6

Distilling Nature: New Work by Chinkok Tan

contemporary landscape painting
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 5:00am to Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 5:00am

Opening reception:
Saturday, November 14, 2-4:30 pm Artist present

Over the past 40 years, Chinkok Tan has become one of Canada’s most prolific painters. Possessing an innate knowledge of how to capture the essence of light and colour on canvas, Tan’s large scale pieces evoke the quiet, serene beauty of landscapes. What makes his paintings unique is that they are as emotionally powerful at a distance as they are close up; inviting the viewer to experience the meditative feeling of being in the natural world.

CONTACT: 416-698-9687

Venue & Address: 

Sara Sniderhan

Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 4:00pm to Sunday, November 1, 2015 - 12:00am

Illustration Faculty Sara Sniderhan's show "A Room of Her Own" runs October 15-31, 2015
Opening Celebration with the Artist is Thursday, October 15th at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Venue & Address: 
Ingram Gallery 24 Hazelton Avenue Toronto, ON 416-929-2220
Image of a woman sitting on the ground

Alumna reaches finals in RBC Canadian Painting Competition

Graphite, oil and linen on panel depicting blue jug and leaf
Monday, July 6, 2015 - 4:00am

Claire Scherzinger (BFA, Drawing & Painting, 2013) is one of 15 artists vying for the top prize of $25,000 in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition.

The finalists were chosen from a pool of 615 competitors from three regions of Canada — Western Canada, Central Canada and Eastern Canada.

Established in 1999, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition is an initiative developed by RBC with the support of the Canadian Art Foundation (publisher of Canadian Art).

This year, the competition will award $85,000 in prize money. In addition to the top prize of $25,000, two honourable mentions will receive $15,000 while the remaining finalists will receive $2,500. The winner and two honourable mentions will be announced on November 16, 2015.

The top three works become part of the RBC Corporate Collection which holds more than 4,000 works of art collected over the past century.

The initiative nurtures and supports promising new artists in the early stages of their careers, offering financial empowerment and professional mentorship.

Another OCAD U alumna, Vanessa Maltese (BFA, Drawing & Painting, 2010) was named national winner of the competition in 2012.  

Otino Corsano: Banner Year

Image of a banner
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 5:00am to Saturday, February 28, 2015 - 5:00am

OCAD U Continuing Studies intsructor Otino Corsano continues to reconstruct cinematic elements into new genres for his latest Banner Year solo exhibition presented by pm Gallery. These new paintings feature celluloid-like images of scrolling banners both with and sans mottos. Undulating forms relate to the analog essence of both cinema and painting in the digital era. Contemporary heraldry of corporate branding is also referenced. Corsanos recent work tracks new dialogues through a fusion of oscillating film structures and the highly archival medium of painting as a perpetually resurfacing discipline.

In early 2008, Corsano commissioned the creation of twelve wood panels to be constructed at three times the scale of the original 2007 iPhone. These solid wood forms were produced prior to any public knowledge of the development or release of the first iPad in 2010, although they are similar in dimensions. Featuring rounded edges and silver casing, the resulting series of wood-burned paintings document inspirational quotes from artists, collectors, dealers and other art world insiders culled from the artists memory.

Linked to the Los Angeles art community, Corsano's visual art practice consists of neo-conceptualist, new genre work. He explores areas of meaning production in a variety of media and established Ocean Course Films as an entity to consolidate his collaborative multimedia projects. Corsano has taught at the University of Toronto and is an Instructor at OCAD University. He completed his MFA at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles in 2000. Banner Year is Otino Corsanos fourth Toronto solo exhibition with pm Gallery. The artist personally thanks Pete Commanda for his wood burning expertise. Otino is grateful to Powell McDougall for a decade of professional representation of his work.

Opening Thursday, February 5, 6 to 9 p.m.

Venue & Address: 
p|m Gallery 1518 Dundas Street West

A Riveder le Stelle: Mary Hambleton and Sara MacLean

Photograph of a blurred light object
Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 5:00am to Sunday, February 22, 2015 - 5:00am

A Riveder le Stelle | Mary Hambleton and Sara MacLean
January 22 – February 22, 2015

TYPOLOGY is thrilled to announce the launch of our guest curating program with the two person exhibition, A Riveder le Stelle. Featuring rarely seen works on paper by the late New York painter Mary Hambleton, and a video installation by Toronto-based Sara MacLean, the exhibition is curated by interdisciplinary artist and independent curator Heather Nicol.

Taking its name from the final line of Dante’s Inferno (1314), A Riveder le Stelle, “to gaze once more upon the stars,” is conceived as a virtual conversation between two artists, separated by time, place, and practice, whose work nevertheless manifests striking formal and conceptual correspondences. Among the many such convergences are a mutual interest in the body, the scientific gaze (particularly as it relates to diagnostic medicine), relationships between the infinitesimal and the celestial, and the sense of wonder such scrutiny engenders.

Public opening reception: Thursday, January 22nd from 6–8 pm
Join us for an opening reception with guest curator Heather Nicol and artist Sara MacLean (same night as Koffler Gallery’s opening for Kristiina Lahde downstairs). Refreshments will be served and all are welcome!

About the Curator and Artists
Toronto-based guest curator Heather Nicol received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts (NY), MA in art education from NYU, and interdisciplinary MFA from OCADU. Her curatorial projects often engage conditions specific to decommissioned and repurposed sites, and have fostered opportunities for large groups of artists working across a wide range of disciplines.

Mary Hambleton (1952–2009) was based in Brooklyn and exhibited her work in the US and abroad at venues including Leslie Heller Gallery, Littlejohn Contemporary, and Pamela Auchincloss Gallery (New York), and the Machida City Museum (Tokyo). Her many honours include the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial, Adolph Esther Gottlieb Foundation, and two Pollock-Krasner awards.

Toronto-based Sara MacLean (b. 1974) employs embodied camera techniques, darkroom experiments, sculpture, and set design to create subtly choreographed encounters with her time-based media projections. She has exhibited in North America, Europe, and Asia at festivals and venues including Anthology Film Archives (New York) and the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona.

Venue & Address: 
TYPOLOGY Projects No. 302, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5

Jody Hewgill wins Society of Illustrators gold

Before Midnight by Jody Hewgill
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - 5:00am

Assistant Professor in Illustration Jody Hewgill has recently been awarded a Society of Illustrators gold award for her work Before Midnight. The award was given in the editorial category of the Society’s 57th Annual Exhibition.

The painting was commissioned by Entertainment Weekly creative director Kory Kennedy for a review of the film by the same name by director Richard Linklater for the magazine’s top ten issue. The painting will be exhibited at New York’s Museum of American Illustration opening gala and award presentation on February 6, 2015.

“This is an extraordinary honour in the Illustration profession and a feather in the cap of OCAD’s Faculty of Design,” said Illustration Chair Paul Dallas. The exhibition is considered the premier showcase for illustrators.