How a technological failure at a con led to one of art’s most exciting live events, which, says Marty Day, turns artists into rock stars
Super Art Fight: Washington.
Fights are 25 minutes in length. Participants are given a topic at the beginning of each bout, new themes introduced at the five-, 10-, 15- and 20-minute marks, chosen using the Wheel of Death.
Participants are actively encouraged to “attack” their opponent’s art, completing unfinished pieces or subverting them with additional doodles: a bullet hole here, blood there. This is Super Art Fight: where artists become rock stars.
“Yes,” Marty Day says, “artists become rock stars. Or at least over-the-top, prowrestling-style characters. Drawing is much more enjoyable with a crowd chanting and cheering for you – as opposed to fighting your own mental blocks and merely hoping someone enjoys the end result.”
Marty is organiser and co-host of the event that’s a direct descendent of the slightly more civilised Iron Artist competition. When video equipment failed at the 2008 anime convention Katsucon, artists Jamie Noguchi and Nick DiFabbio began drawing on each other’s canvas to entertain the crowd. Marty and Nick knew they were on to something, and discussed taking the show out of a convention setting and in front of a “live, rock club-style audience”. The audience, Marty says, is as important as the artists.
“We present a show unlike any other. You’ll laugh, you’ll see amazing art, you’ll see underdogs rise to the occasion. And since the audience picks the winners, battle-of-the-bands style, your voice will be heard loud and clear.”