Twelve artists gathered around a brightly lit stage to compete in Art Battle Canada recently at Ottawa’s Arts Court.

Beyond bragging rights, there was a grand prize of $100 on the line, as well as the chance to compete in a regional competition in June.

Art Battle Canada has held more than 600 competitions over the years. It helps local artists get exposure. Each artist has 20 minutes to create an original piece in the competition and the audience votes for the winner.

James W. Cook, sculptor and painter, said he competes in art battles for the adrenaline rush.

“I’m addicted to it. I look forward to the next one, just winging it in the moment,” he said.

The art is later sold in a silent auction and proceeds are given back to the Arts Court to help local artists.

The competition has two qualifying rounds, each featuring six artists. Two
artists from each round then advance to a third and final round. The winners were chosen by the audience through a text message voting system. [Photo © Chelsey Devito]
Artists were given time ahead of the battle to select colours and materials. Once the clock started they had to make do with what they had selected. [Photo © Chelsey Devito]
James W. Cook had issues with colours bleeding together but he said he enjoyed the pressure of the competition. [Photo © Chelsey Devito]
Although there was a DJ at the event, one artist, who goes by the name Verbal, chose to wear headphones to help him concentrate. [Photo © Kennedy Chamberlain]
Sylvia Han is an art teacher specializing in painting. She said the inspiration for her painting came from ha recent trip to South Korea. [Photo © Chelsey Devito]
Artists were given complete freedom for their vision allowing spectators to take in a variety of art from abstract to realism. [Photo © Chelsey Devito]
Rob Nicholson, who made the final round, was fan favourite. [Photo © Kennedy Chamberlain]
Mike Scapillato the wildcard, who was chosen randomly out of a hat , finished his piece in round two with eight minutes to spare. [Photo © Kennedy Chamberlain]
A small crowd gathered around Nouha Hachimi during the final minutes of the competition. [Photo © Chelsey Devito]
Hachimi had used a variety of techniques including brush work and sponges. [Photo © Kennedy Chamberlain]
In the end, Hachimi, an engineer student, won the battle. “To be honest I wasn’t putting it in my mind that I was going to win. I just wanted to get out of my comfort zone and I think it worked out,” she said. [Photo © Kennedy Chamberlain]