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Sure, it’s a spectacle that draws from the “competitive creativity” so popular right now on reality television, but purists might bristle at the idea that painting under such circumstances can be worthwhile.Can a “good” painting can be completed in 20 minutes?An Ottawa edition of Art Battle took place on Tuesday, October 1 at Arts Court and the event was packed with painters and curious observers.Another battle will be contested here on November 4."I wanted to push my limits and see what I could produce in such a unique environment.”Heading into the event, Hillier was aware of how the confines of Art Battle might contradict some aspects of her BFA studies, particularly “the emphasis put on conceptualizing before creating a work,” she explains.“In this amount of time that cannot be taken as far as usual.”In another way, however, Art Battle presented an opportunity in keeping with the “focus on process at Ottawa U,” Hillier notes.“I was able to tune out what was around me but I chose not to,” said the artist.“The space you paint in influences your work greatly, and I wanted it to even more so under these circumstances.
She has extensive experience in arts policy and research and is currently working with Canadian Arts Data (CADAC).
I included the audience by asking them what colour I should use next.”Although Hillier was happy with the two paintings she ended up with, she was aware of how the competitive aspect may have hindered her success in the final round.
“I found I was just more centred in the first one, whereas in the second I was more focused on the competition, which was my downfall,” she explained. “I learned that trusting your immediate responses while creating a work can be extremely rewarding and impossible to plan for.
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Angela Hillier, one of the painters who took part at Arts Court, holds this latter view.