#Indianapolis – The Vogue is dimly lit except one section which commands the attention of everyone gathered to witness some art be destroyed. Stage lights illuminate 32 Art vs. Art paintings which stand stoic in the back of The Vogue with onlookers judging each work of art and conversing amongst each other.
Among the 32 is one painting by Trent Fairbrother, a winner of a previous Art vs. Art competition the piece he submitted for this year’s competition is a childlike Superman who holds a bird in one hand and a plane in the other.
For Fairbrother and 31 other contestants last Friday’s Art vs. Art competition allowed local artists a chance to compete against one another for a chance at a $4,000 grand prize – art that doesn’t win has a chance at being destroyed.
During Art vs. Art’s main event held at The Vogue the public votes to choose 16 paintings which will move on to final judging by the audience from the original 32. After 16 are chosen each painting goes head to head on stage, whichever painting the audience is loudest for moves on to the next round, the other has a chance at being destroyed by a method chosen by the Wheel of Death.
Fairbrother’s painting lost its bout and succumbed to a death which included the crowd favorite: the chainsaw.
“Events like this remind us how important and how great art is,” Fairbrother said. “I never feel as good about being an artist as I do when I’m at this event. There’s so many competitions out there were you never see anyone win, its online, this is a competition where you see people here in body and in spirit. Real people win, there’s no hidden politics – people yell for what they like most.”
Before a winner is crowned and any paintings can be destroyed,though, paintings are weeded down prior to the main event – from 85 to 32.
A three part annual competition, phase one of Art vs. Art starts in the beginning of September. In this phase artists register and pay a fee to compete, then on a designated day 85 artists get together under one roof and paint.
That day is called “Paint Day,” each artist on this day receive the same five brushes, colors (red,yellow,blue,black, and white) and an 18×24 canvas.
“When coming up with what I’ll paint I think about what guys and girls like and what would make someone smile,” Fairbrother said. “I start planning three months before the competition and I try to think up ideas of what’s relevant and what’s in the news. If anyone does smile when they see my art I’m happy, that means I did what I set out to do.”
The second phase of Art vs. Art’s competition commences with online voting which dwindles down the pool of 85 pieces of art to 32, once the 32 are selected everything comes down to the public’s voting at the main event at The Vogue at the end of September.
“There’s no other art event like this and I think what makes [Art vs. Art] successful is that it’s a fun event in a tight knit art community that has so much potential,” Keri Jeter, board member for Primary Colours said.
Primary Colours heads the organization of Art vs. Art and uses the event to connect visual art and artists with the Indianapolis community – something that the organization as a whole strives for.
“An event like this, I always think about it in a Shakespearean way,” Jeter said. “Visual art is high brow, which doesn’t appeal to as many people. But an event like this which is a game show and has destruction, it brings down that high brow level that may turn some people off and make it able for more people to come out and enjoy and get behind.”
For more information about Art vs. Art click here.
Primary Colours hosts a number of events throughout the year in support of visual art. For more information about events that Primary Colours hosts and about the organization click here.