The Tri-Cities Best Duke It Out: On The Canvas

The Tri-City Art Battle

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Artist Feature,   From Issue 704   By: Sam Fitzpatrick

27th May, 2010     0

On May 15th 2010 The Saginaw Art Museum hosted the “Tri-City Art Battle”, a unique contest along with a silent auction with even more distinct artists and artwork from the Saginaw, Bay City, and Midland areas. The artists would consist of people of all ages, backgrounds, and ideas. Being a contest, a vote was held for first, second, and third favorite artists. First place artist would leave the building with $500, second place with $250, with $100 allocated for third place.   For $10.00 per person entry was granted, holding over 200 visitors for the event. From 5:00-8:00 PM Saturday evening the competing artists contemplate their piece, starting from scratch of coarse, and pray to finish before the deadline of 8:00 P.M.

The event was held until 9:00 PM for after award gatherings of friends and family, hyper to congratulate their victors. Live music by local musicians, separate from the art contest, made appearances and performances to add on to the entertainment, giving more atmosphere to those mixed and sometimes mystical feelings the artwork seemed to radiate. 

The contest and auction was being held in the same area, a large mainly cement room in the Saginaw Art Museum with twenty five artists (starting at exactly 5:00 PM) frantically painting, designing, carving, detailing, and gluing together for the love and passion of the canvas, snowboard, and even suitcase. Yes, anything can be considered art! Anything goes in this room. Even old tape decks being glued onto a poster board, and then covered in light orange paint and images of artists from various genres.

Throughout the evening the artists would check Facebook updates on their laptops if they had them, or put on their headphones to jam or tune out the public for their own inspiration.

On the subject of inspiration, how does one walking into this room describe all of this art from a non-artist point of view?

“Inspirational,” says local Swan Valley High School student Blake Mazur, who was very intrigued by the event, “and in some ways very moving. Some of the pieces of art made me amazed, and I’m evening thinking of getting back into art and pursuing it even more”.

Obviously between 5:00 and 8:00 PM the artwork was going to change dramatically. But at times you would look at an artist thinking he is already done rather quickly through the evening, only to be surprised twenty minutes later to see they have completely changed the piece.

Is art ever completed? It is always up for change. The public was awe-struck at the talent being undertaken to do this; and they were truly captivated by the messages the artists were giving off through their artwork. Some pieces really made you stop and think, some tilt your head, and some ostensibly appeared confusing - but that is the beauty of art! It can be anything and do anything onto the observer.       

To keep the ever-shifting crowd from staring at one piece for too long, a silent auction was held behind the main competition floor for the already hard-at-work artists to auction off their other pieces of work. The presented canvases, or whatever was used as a canvas, such as a skateboard or what appeared to be a large portion of a cloth, was set alongside a long piece of paper.

The paper’s purpose? Top bids! Information on the paper included the artist’s name, name of the artwork, the starting bid, and room for the public to jot down their bids. People were placing some very pricey bids to have unique works of art sitting in their residence. In case the art was really working up an appetite, upon entry to the Art Battle food tickets were handed out for one free meal of artfully crafted fruits, sandwiches, and other nibbles.

By the time 7:30 had rolled around, the artists had only thirty minutes left to complete their works. This time also called for the silent auction to come to an end. Between 7:30 and 8:00 PM the staff and other holders of the event would tally up the auction results and determine the owner of each piece of art displayed in the back.

Finally, the clock struck an end to the work at 8:00 PM for the competing artists. Finished or near completion, all work stopped on the art. Paint caps being put back, brushes being dropped onto the floor, and the occasional accomplishing sighs were only some of the things to be heard in the room around this moment. The winners were only minutes away from cash prizes, and possibly a very high level of confidence.

Once every top bid had been counted and all the auctioned artwork was given to it’s new owner, all that remained was the final event. The top three favorite artists of the evening! The room grew silently towards the stage, yet very anxious once the announcer had taken the stage, clearly intending to make this a very quick award ceremony.

Getting right to the point, the third place winner of the Tri-City Art Battle and the now owner of $100 was announced as Corrine Hutfilz, with her canvas portraying a man haunted by certain events in his past. Mazur also stated Hutfilz as his favorite artist.

Second favorite artist and the winner of $250 went to Rick Faubert, who appeared to be out having a cigarette break while his name was being called. Faubert created a canvas of a close-up eye that appears to be crying some brick-red colored water. Faubert described his piece as “Just intriguing to me, something I liked. I just came out to have fun. I feel glad, regardless of whatever happens, just being able to enjoy myself”.

At last, voted as the most favorite artist of the event, first place was announced to James Hughes, with his bright, multi-colored canvas of whatever you wanted to call it. Hughes said he felt “Excellent! (All while giving two thumbs up) Always good to win! I just went with it, whatever feels right to me. Support your local artists”. 

Every artist appeared to have ended the evening on a good note.

The competition here was a win-win scenario, even if not one of the top three, everyone did manage to silently auction off some of their other artwork.  Besides, an extra wad of cash is never a bad thing to leave with.                       

The annual Tri City Art Battle brought together some of the area’s best artists and creative minds alike, and the public’s opinion declared the top three. As the years go by, the artist and artwork that this event attracts is destined to draw in more and more talent and creativity.


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