First Friday January: "Basement Battle"! * Imurj
imurj, emerge raleigh, art battle raleigh, raleigh artists, basement battle, art competition, live art
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First Friday January: “Basement Battle”!

We wanted to start off 2019 with a big party, so we decided to go hard with a little friendly little art competition which we referred to as “Basement Battle”. The name was inspired by our locale as an underground creative venue. A call went out for visual artists who were willing to accept the challenge. It wouldn’t be easy – they would get some markers, a 3×3 foot panel to fill, and just 45 minutes to do so, on a stage, in front of a live audience. Oh, and they had to create something related to a specific theme – a theme that would be a secret until a moment before the timer started. We selected 8 artists and split them into 2 rounds, with Taylor Cashdan as our fearless host.


Round 1 Goes Down

Round one was Shane Smith, Lidia Churakova, Mack, and Trey Ansley. The theme was revealed, “Love, Lights, & Sound”, and the timer started. They were off – some sketching out concepts longer and some diving in quickly with their permanent markers, some with headphones on – in their own world, others feeding off the crowd’s energy. No erasers to be found, and the timer quickly counting down; the crowd and future competitors peering past the artists at their canvases, watching the lines take shape and wondering what the outcome would be. 45 minutes passed, the timer went off, and Taylor called out “Markers Down!” Round one was almost complete.


While the first round of finished work was moved to the gallery & labels attached, the staff distributed voting tokens and directed everyone to the voting jars. The stage was reset with fresh canvases and fresh markers, while everyone got a chance to breathe before the next round.


Round two competitors took the stage: Steve Redling, Lenny Terenzi, Britt Flood, and Kristin DeBockler. A new round called for a new theme and it was revealed: “Opposites Attract”. The timer started, and they were off just as fast. Plenty of quick pencil sketching before the markers came out. They worked diligently and a little more confidently than the first group – having gotten a chance to watch the whole thing go down once already. The excitement built as people finished voting and waited to see what attracting opposites would come to light. The crowd was already impressed with the great work produced so far. The house was getting packed and people got more anxious, inching up closer to get the best view. The timer went off and the final round ended. The audience once again took to the polls to vote for their favorite work.


Winners Announced!

When all was said and done, the votes were pretty close for each round, but only one winner from each round would emerge.

Lidia Churakova took the first round winning title!

Britt Flood nabbed the winning slot for the second round!


All the competitors created amazing work in such a short time! Be sure to see it all in person in the gallery this month. Congrats to all the artists who put themselves out there! And of course our host, Taylor Cashdan was much appreciated! Ponysaurus came out to sample beer & sponsor some prizes for the winners! Jerry’s Artarama helped us secure all the creative tools necessary to make the night a success!


Each finished work is available via silent auction on-site until 12pm on January 28, 2019. The minimum bid is $150, or buy it now online, or in person) for $400 to guarantee it’s yours!

If you are a visual artist, consider joining us at the next Basement Battle coming this spring. Stay tuned on social media and keep an eye out for announcements!


After the competition, the stage was set for a band, Foxy Moron. They opened the musical part of the night as Durham recording artist, Brev. released his new album at Imurj! Check out music from Brev. on Spotify.