The 2015 Faces of Fusion Art Battle is upon us! We shall wade through acrylics, and drape ourselves in the canvases of our enemies! We shall feast upon the flesh of whatever catering brings us! Needless to say, everyone here at The East are excited to be part of the event, especially with the very talented artists that will be participating. Here’s a little primer to let you know who to look for.
A photography student at NASCAD, Allie Beckwith is a Saint John/Grand Bay Westfield native who comes from a musical and art-oriented family, “I didn’t wake up one day and decide. It was embedded in me.” While specializing in fashion photography, Allie is also a painter who has long focused on watercolours, but has recently started experimenting with acrylics. Her fashion photography has given her a platform with published images in Photo Life Magazine, Lucy’s Magazine, and Kaɪ’oʊti Magazine. She has worked in Montreal as a production agency intern, and has travelled to New York, where she had the chance to shoot at New York Fashion Week. Allie recently completed a mural for the Howard Johnson Hotel in Saint John with a Las Vegas theme featuring Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and James Dean. She was also nominated for the Best Instagram in Saint John for the Salty Awards. This will be Allie’s first Art Battle.
Erica Campbell is a full time graphic designer working with the Saint John Theatre Company, the sort of rare and exciting position that gets lusted after in this city, “There aren’t a lot of people in Saint John that get to have a full time, 9-5 job in the arts.” Though her day-job is firmly planted in the realm of the digital, Erica’s own artwork primarily uses acrylics, with the occasional ink drawing, because, as she puts it, “it’s fun to pretend to be all old time-y with your quill and ink pot.” Her style is based on a love of the absurd, creating works that make her laugh and often in the form of bizarre and humorous characters. Normally something of a solitary painter, disliking to share her mysterious ‘in-between processes’ of unfinished work even with friends, this will be Erica’s first Art Battle, and will undoubtedly prove to be an enlightening and exciting experience for all.
For Adam Gavel, art has always been a focus in his life, and over the past year and a half, he has been fine tuning and developing this focus, but he doesn’t just identify as an artist. Adam also identifies with the roles of father, carpenter, and creator in his everyday life. He has gained professional experience through a range of artistic endeavors in music production, film, and theatre. Adam’s artistic style can be described as an extension of life. He paints what he sees and has witnessed. His work can be seen as impressionistic with a sense of painting ‘outside of the lines’. It is not an exact representation, but rather his own interpretation of the subject. In his own words, “I’m just an aspiring artist.” Adam has participated in two previous Art Battles in Fredericton and Saint John.
Caine Harris hails from Fredericton, New Brunswick and is currently the Camp Director for Camp Rotary. He shares a studio space at Studio Forward, located in Downtown Fredericton, but spends his spare time as an outdoorsman, avidly cycling throughout the year. Caine describes his artwork as spontaneous and unpredictable, an excellent combination for live art. He states, “Any preconceived expectations of a final result are often met with the adventure of creating something completely unexpected, resulting in a continued inspiration towards new developments, and experimentation in mixed media.” He works in a plethora of mediums, including charcoal, conte, pastels, and acrylic paint, and his inspirations are equally varied. Caine has a Diploma in Fine Craft – Ceramics (NBCCD Fredericton), and received the title of “Emerging Artist” at the 2012 Dooryard Arts Festival in Woodstock, New Brunswick.
Jill Higgins possesses a sincere passion for art. A self-taught artist, she has found inspiration in the act of creation itself, and began creating pieces for family and friends, capturing the beauty of nature in her works. She admits that while landscapes can seem impossible to replicate, they lead her to convey as much as realistically possible, while simultaneously integrating her own perspectives. Jill is a practicing architect in the city of Saint John and a mother of two. These experiences combine with her observations of the natural world and drive her as an artist . She recently participated in the Spring Art Show at Rothesay Netherwood School. This will be Jill’s first art battle.
Jesse Jenkins is an award winning tattoo artist from Sussex, New Brunswick, but her talents as an artist transcend numerous mediums, from inks, to watercolours, acrylics, sculpture, and even dance, “I love to create art, dance, and learn, and I love to share my art, dance, and knowledge with my friends and community. Most of the time I spend creating art is tattooing and drawing for tattoos, but secondly I love to paint! Acrylic paints have been my go-to for most of my life, but I have also found an increasing love for watercolor paints.” This will be Jesse’s first foray into the world of live art battles, but she is approaching it as an opportunity to really flex her muscles as an artist, “I have spent many of my years creating incredibly controlled and ‘perfect’ art, and am now learning to loosen up a lot within the creative process, which has made art a lot more fun for me.”
Lillian Kennedy’s home in Maces Bay provides her with the beauty and inspiration for her art. She has been painting since the early 80’s and has been continually developing her artistic skills. Lillian has studied from some wonderful artists including Bob Percival, Henry Purdy and Sharon Yates. Creating landscape paintings from an impressionistic style is her passion. Studying the complexities that nature provides give her an ever changing and inspiring subject. Lillian aims to artistically capture the myriad of nature’s complexities through her own visual observations and interpretations. Painting gives her a mode of continual self-discovery. Her work has been displayed throughout New Brunswick, including the Sunbury Shores Art and Nature Center, the Saint John Art Gallery, and the Netherwood Spring Art Show. Her experiences with watercolors and plein air sketches have helped give her exposure to working within a limited time-frame. Lillian will be participating in her first Art Battle.
Mandy McHaffie currently resides in Saint John, New Brunswick, but she was raised on a mountain in the woods, near Springhill, Ontario. It was there that she found her connection to animals and nature. “I spent most of my life breaking through limitations, exploring, traveling, and growing through the connections I have formed and with the abilities that I have to see the world through a multitude of lenses.” Amanda began painting early in the Spring of 2013, on the backs of pizza boxes, after tapping into festival subculture by attending Evolve and “was inspired by a beautiful community of gifted and talented artists”. She states that after attending Evolve, “the music and the live art were surging through my veins.” The performance of live art is, according to Amanda, “rooted in the essence of creative energy of the present moment.” “My goal, as an artist, is to keep expanding concepts of the mind, time, space and heart. I want to share with everyone the awareness of realizing our potential and creating a network to support those creative dreams so we can make them a reality.” Amanda has participated in numerous “Art Jams”, “Art Dance Parties”, and will be attending the shows of several local bands in Saint John and Fredericton to perform live art simultaneously with the musicians.
Christiana Myers is known not only as an artist but also a local curator in Saint John, New Brunswick. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Mount Allison University and has completed residencies in both Montreal as well as at the Arteles Centre in Finland. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Third Space Gallery in Saint John and is the exhibition curator for the display, “WORKING TITLE” at the Saint John Arts Centre. As an emerging artist, Christiana is currently focusing on the ideas of “the comfort and discomfort, action and inaction, and valuing and devaluing that occurs in relationships between people and their environments” in her work; the goal of which is to give the viewer a sense of familiarity while still causing them to question their position within the artwork. Many of Christiana’s works feature the human figure, often times in a very dynamic portrait style. Christiana’s work has been exhibited throughout many galleries in the Maritimes and Montreal, as well as the Netherlands, and in 2012, she embarked on the ArtsNB New Brunswick/Quebec creative residency exchange.
Nathasha Pilotte is a self-taught artist and an art battle veteran, already destined for the New Brunswick Regionals happening in Saint John on June 13th. “I love playing around with colours, shapes and textures, and seeing what comes out of it.” For her, art is an exploratory process, and one that often results in whimsy, “I’ll start with an idea and it will end completely different from my original intentions. It’s a series of happy accidents. I might have an idea of what I want to paint; I just hope it agrees with me when it’s time to paint! But that’s all the fun in art: the freedom it gives you.” Nathasha first tried live competitive painting at the suggestion of a friend, “It was one of the most nerve-wracking things ever. I had a hard time sleeping for a week, but it was so much fun! I said ‘Never again!’ after that much nerves…. and I’m about to do it for a 4th time! I love to see what everyone else brings to the table. It motivates me to do the best I can.”
Tom Smith is from Fredericton, New Brunswick, and he’s an artist, born and bred, “It is my fate to be an artist. I have done lots of crazy things in this Earthly existence to survive; sailing, art, and love have ruled my life, and I strive to be good at what I do.” In particular, Tom is a live performance artist, and can be found painting at festivals throughout the Maritimes, especially in the summer months. “I am on a life-mission to bring the process out of the confines of the studio, and galleries, and create in the public arena, where I can inspire others to find their creativity; that’s what I love about Art Battle!” His art features vibrant colour and nature scenes, and often blends with political undertones (sometimes overtones), inspired by the exuberance of human existence. He is the Creator and Co-administrator of the No Fun Zone Collaborative Live Art Collective.
For Victor Szymanski, art, specifically drawing, has been a large part of his life since childhood. Victor began painting in high school, which, in recent years, he has used a means of self-expression. For Victor, artists who create beauty throughout the hardships of their lives have been a high source of inspiration and many of his favourite artists come from the Romantic period, Ivan Aivazobsky and Jean-Honore Fragonard, in particular. Possibly the most important inspiration for Victor comes from his own home, as his mother is also an artist. Before graduating high school, Victor completed a mural based off of Alphonse Mucha’s Four Seasons and has been working on portraiture, using close friends as some of his subjects. As a full time student at UNBSJ, Victor works hard to balance his studies and his art. He values the importance of continuously motivating himself to become a better artist and the drive to not lose his “openess to trying new styles and exploring different artists.”
A very special thanks to all the artists participating, all of our volunteers, and our staff writers, Kelsey Nevers, Ellie Stockall, and Cheryl Johnson, for the extraordinary effort involved in accomplishing this.