Art Battle

Art Battle Manchester: making art accessible to the masses

  • Art Battle Manchester returns in the summer
  • The 10th edition of the event is set to be the biggest one yet, selling out within one day
  • The NQ spoke to John X, the founder of the event to find out what Art Battle is, and why he puts the annual event on

Art Battle Manchester is about to hold its 10th edition, underneath Mancunian Way, at the Projekts skateboarding park, taking place on Saturday 6th May. Combining art and music, the underground event is quickly becoming one of the events of the year.  

The concept of Art Battle is very simple: 10 artists battle it out to create a masterpiece in less than 30 minutes, with the crowd voting in rounds to decide who will be crowned champion. 

The 500-strong capacity audience will watch graffiti artists, painters, illustrators, tattooists and street artists go head-to-head in one of the city's most energetic art events.

Art Battle Manchester poster
The event is so popular that it sold out in one day!

John Macaulay, the founder of Art Battle, explained why the event's venue regularly changed: "We change the venue for each battle to keep the event fresh.

"We've done battles in music venues, warehouses, mills, theatres, ping pong bars and even and old fire station. The crowd never quite knows what to expect. The next Art Battle Manchester will be held under the Mancunian Way. It doesn't get more Manc that that!"

Speaking in-depth about why he had set up the event, John added "I'd organised a number music gigs and my then-girlfriend (now wife Sophie) is an art lover. We wanted to combine our skills and interests to create a night we'd both enjoy."

Art Battle
Contestant at previous Battle

One of the main reasons for setting the event up for John was to make art more accessible: "I never found the art world particularly accessible and wouldn't have dreamt of going to an at gallery, so Art Battle Manchester was about creating a night with gig atmosphere but with art as the focal point.

"Art Battle is about making art accessible to the masses, giving artists a platform to showcase their skills and personalities, and raising a few quid for local grassroots causes. The event makes artists of all genres and experience into rock stars for the night."

When asked if there was any particular artists to look out for in the battle, John replied: "Yes, all of them! The each bring loads to the battle.

"It's the only event you'll see a tattooist, painters, street artists, cartoonists and illustrators competing against each other. We've a couple of artists taking part in the next battle who have a big following…!"

If you are inspired or want to get involved with the next event, Art Battle is always looking for fresh talent: "Just send us a message on social media or through our website.

"We are always on the look out for artists that want to push their creative boundaries and paint live in front of hundreds of people. If you're brave enough, you're in!"

Key 103's Hattie Pearson will be hosting the event. 

While the event is sold-out, it will be covered live by The NQ both on FaceBook Live and on Twitter, so keep your eyes peeled! 

For a sneak-peak of what to expect, there's a video of the 5th edition of Art Battle: