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Secret Wars: Head-to-Head Art Battle Using Only Black Paint

Secret Wars is a live art battle where artists go head-to-head over 90 minutes, on a huge white wall.  Cheered on by hundreds of spectators,...

Jeff Squires
Jeff Squires on February 11, 2009.

Secret Wars is a live art battle where artists go head-to-head over 90 minutes, on a huge white wall.  Cheered on by hundreds of spectators, Secret Wars has evolved into a serious competition on a global scale. Last week while visiting London, PSFK had the distinct privilege of judging the semi-finals.

Frequently likened to a ‘fight club for artists,’ the rules are simple: two artists compete head-to-head using only black paint on a 20ft white wall (no sketch books or pencils are allowed).  While there are no themes or instructions given before hand, artists are encouraged to engage with both their opponent as well as the audience.  In this respect, the event feels a bit more like an MC battle, where improvisation and context are highly valued. After 90 minutes of competition, the winner is judged using a 3 point system: 2 guest judges and a crowd vote calculated using a decibel reader.

Held in a studio space in Shoreditch, the semi-finals attracted over 700 people – and aided by a bass-heavy DJ set, a fashionable crowd, and a steady flow of cheap booze, we’d reckon this party could have gone on all night, art battle or not.

In the end, a young Reeps (right) and the self-styled Hicks (left) progressed to the final round.

Many thanks to Terry from Monorex / Secret Wars.

[images via Sandy Danbury at Elliot Rebellious]

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