NYC Art League - Spring Season Recap

Photos by Jeanelle Folkes

Background

The concept for the NYC Art League began with Sour Mouse co-curator, Bree Chapin, who had the idea to put together an art battle to promote the venue. Sour Mouse had opened its door late-fall 2020, and as was the case with many small businesses, was struggling through the COVID winter. In January 2021, Sour Mouse reached out to UP Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, T.K. Mills to serve as an MC and judge.

T.K. was interested in the concept, but felt that the judge shouldn’t also be the MC, and that there should be more than one judge in total. T.K. met with Sour Mouse curators Bree and Evan Salton, joining the team as a consultant to help structure the event. T.K. put together a rubric for a judge’s panel, to help make sure there was a fair system.

The Art League’s scoring system works like this: there are 3 categories, Creativity, Technique, and Theme. Each category is worth 5 points, and judges assign the points based on their own subjective opinions. The Theme for each match differs, and is decided by Sour Mouse. In addition to the judges scores, there’s bonus points decided by an audience score and assigned by the MC. In recruiting judges, the goal is to feature curators, art media personnel, and fellow artists.

For the match itself, artist have 1 hour to paint their canvas, split into two 30-minute rounds with a half time in between. The live painting tests artists skills under pressure, and creativity on the spot. Artists aren’t told the theme until right as the match begins.

The aim of the NYC Art League to promote the art community and provide a venue where artists can compete in friendly competition, encouraging sportsmanship and camaraderie.

With the concept together, UP & Sour Mouse were eager for the first match, knowing that there was still much to learn & refine with the art league, but the best way to find out is through trial by fire.

Match 1 - February 18th, 2021

Kicking off on February 18th, 2021, the inaugural art league match was a huge success, despite COVID conditions and unexpected snowstorm. The artists showed up and gave it their all!

The first round of battle featured Konstance Patton (@konartstudio), LeCrue Eyebrows (@art_by_eyebrows), and Adrian Bermeo (@bermeonyc). The match was judged by Lois Stavsky of StreetArtNYC and Jonathan Neville of Dripped on Productions and primary curator of FSG Park. (The Art of Will Power was also slated to judge but was unable to make it due to the snow.)

It was a close match, but in the end the winner was LeCrue Eyebrows, with the judges citing his clever interpretation of the theme ‘Underground Sour Mouse’ as their reason for giving him the most points.

Match 1 Recap Video by Street Art Desire

Match 2 - March 18th, 2021

Round Two in March featured Calicho Arevalo (@calichoart), Megan Watters (@meganewatters), and 0H1o M1ke (@0h1om1ke). The match was judged by artist Paolo Tolentino, Curator Rachael Clark of Queen of Hearts Productions, and Alec Meeker, owner of local publication the Bushwick Daily. Match 2 also saw multi-talented artist, performer, and Shooters Street Art curator Prolific Wone step up as MC and host.

The judges deliberation was tight, but the audience score helped boost Calicho to be winner of match 2!

Match 2 Recap Video by Street Art Desire

Match 3 - April 15th, 2021

Finally, for Round Three there were several newer artists on the scene featured: Murjani Holmes (@murj_art), Vanessa Kreytak (@vk.NYC.art), and The Dtore (@the_dtore). The judges were Photographer Kurt Boone, Art Publicist Monica German-Prestia, and curator Brandon Wisecarver.

Appropriate for the better weather, the theme for match 3 was ‘Sour Mouse, Flower Mouse‘. All 3 demonstrated incredible creativity, but Vanessa Kreytak won in a strong victory thanks to her quick-painting skills.

 

Match 3 Recap Video by Street Art Desire

 

SPRING CHAMPIONSHIP - June 17th, 2021

And now it’s time to decide who will be our first champion! This Thursday June 17th, the winners of the first 3 matches will face in the Spring Final!

Match 1 Winner: Art by Eyebrows

 

Match 2 Winner: Calicho

 

Match 3 Winner: Vanessa Kreytak

Match 1 Photo Gallery

Match 2 Photo Gallery

Match 3 Photo Gallery