Participants paint during the competition’s first round.
By Shanece Brent, Staff Writer
Published in print Nov. 19. 2014
For the artists gathered at The Creative Center on 16th Street Friday night, time was of the essence. In a competition called “Ultimate Painting,” 12 local artists squared off in a tournament-style battle involving three rounds in which painters attempted to create a unique work of art in only 20 minutes.
After the winners were decided by audience vote, and the victors from the first two rounds went brush to brush in an effort to be called the night’s winner. For Menace Inc. Studios owner and event organizer Jeff Beck, the event was a nerve wrecking one.
“I’m excited and nervous,” he said. “There are so many working pieces; I just hope they all come together well.”
In addition to the competitors, many area artists were in attendance, including professional body painter Frank Orthel, freelance photographer Jordan Robinson and mixed media artist and owner of Shelf Life Art and Supply Co., Cassandra Liuzzo.
“I’m excited,” said freelance artist Dwayne Herbin, who was set to compete in round one. “I really don’t know I’m going to do with the paint, but I’ll just get into it and see what happens.”
Six talented artists stepped up to the easels for the first round of the night, including Stewart Knight, Joshua Stephen Hedrick, Briana Salcedo, Anthony Patterson, Thomas Boatwright and Herbin. At 8:00 p.m., Beck led the audience in a countdown from ten, and after a shout of “Let’s Paint!” the entrants got to work.
A trail of guests walked around the line of artists as they painted , watching each canvas quickly come to life, as upbeat music provided by DJ Dustin kept the mood light and fun. When time was called, the artists stood back to appraise their work and the guests submitted their votes. Former UNCG student Salcedo was all smiles after the round.
Competitor Anthony Patterson hard at work.
“I was nervous on the way here, but now I’m like, whatever happens, happens. It’s a fun event,” she said. Salcedo was well prepared before she ever set brush to canvas. “I had about five different ideas before I got here. You have to think of what you can do in the time limit; you can’t paint a castle or an entire elven kingdom in 20 minutes.”
On the other hand, freelance artist Knight went into the round without a plan. “When I paint for myself I never have an idea, I just paint whatever comes to me,” he said, “and that’s what I did tonight.” His method paid off, and he was announced the winner of round one. When asked how he felt about his win, Knight replied, “I feel great! It’s a fun event, and I’m just glad everyone is having fun.”
After the first round of artists cleaned up, the next six took their places in front of the easels: Johnny “Radio” Fernando, Reid “Switch” Bramhall, Shann Byrne, Rhonda Kinzer, Pandalana Williams and Tonia Gebhart all painted diligently against the clock. “I just painted whatever popped out of my head at the moment, and just went with the vibe,” Fernando said. After 20 minutes of labor, Williams was named the winner of round two, leading to a head to head match between Knight and Williams.
Knight and Williams shook hands before the battle, then painted side by side with their easels turned in opposite directions as the people walked around to get a look. When time was called the two painters walked around to survey each other’s work. They were obviously impressed, and waited for the audiences’ votes.
Finally, Knight was declared the night’s Ultimate Painter. As the winner, Knight will go on to paint in the next competition on January 16 at the Center for Visual Artists.