21 October 2018   |  Last Updated 13-05-2015 10:18

      Tuesday 12, May 2015

      FEATURE: Ex-Stone Roses guitarist donates painting to charity event

      FORMER Stone Roses guitarist John Squire, has donated a signed print of his painting, Tracy Emin, to Art Battle, a charity event taking place at the Soup Kitchen in Manchester’s Northern Quarter on June 5th. 

      The next Art Battle is in aid of the Homeless Film Festival, a charity based in Ancoats, Manchester.

      Art Battle is a unique underground live painting experience which occasionally takes place in Manchester. Featuring artists painting a picture in the round, with a thirty minute deadline, the event sees a diverse array of artist on show. ‘Visual journalist’ Elizabeth Kwant brings her unique layered designs. Dave Sharp, a painter who specialises in psychedelia and Rob, an enigmatic painter and illustrator’, are already confirmed to take part.

      Film maker, Mike Dawson will compère and the background ambience will be provided by Pierre Gartona, a well-known local bon viveur and artist in his own right.

      The event is the brainchild of John MaCauley, 39, of Burnage, and Sophie McNeill, 30, of Didsbury. The core idea is to bring together artists to create a painting in a live environment. The pieces are then sold through a blind auction. There is a 50/50 split of the proceeds, between the artist and the charities.

      John, an entrepreneur and impresario says: “We change the charity every time we have an event. The previous three events have raised over £3,000 for charities such as Mustard Tree, Band On The Wall Foundation and the Contact Theatre Youth Group”


      Sophie, an occupational therapist student at Salford University, explains the format of Art Battle. “Everybody who comes through the door gets given three tokens. Each token is for each round. So there’s a white token for the first round, a purple token for the second round and a gold token for the final. So, the first round of five artists and from these five, the audience vote and two go through to the final. Then there’s another round with five artists and the audience vote in the same way. After that, we line up the four winners and the audience go with their gold chips and vote their final choice, then we get the winner from that."

      The first Art Battle was staged at Twenty Twenty-Two on Dale Street in September 2013 and it has never taken place in the same venue twice.


      Popular demand has meant that Art Battle has returned after a twelve month hiatus. Sophie says “We’ve had a break. The nights were quite frequent but I had to put it on the backburner due to my commitments with Uni work. We have had plenty of people asking us in the meantime when the next one was taking place. This has motivated us to organising a new event at the end of the academic year when I had more time."

      Sophie is an alumna of Manchester University, graduating with a History of Art degree in 2006. Her talents have taken her across the world in her job. She was a set designer for Historyonics, an Australian childrens TV show and she also designed the set and costume at the Royal Exchange in Manchester for the production of Cyrano de Bergarac in 2006.


      The last event was at the Contact Theatre in Chorlton-On-Medlock in April 2014. That night, regular Private Eye cartoonist, Tony Husband, was one of the contestants. Husband was ebullient in his praise for Art Battle saying: “fun and energy is what it’s about. You are competing with other artists, time and yourself. I loved it”.

      John says: The beauty of it is that you don’t have to have lots of artistic knowledge to have a great night. It’s a really unique social event, there’s a real mix of people and they walk away having had a good time and enjoying the spectacle of watching professional artistes creating a great painting in thirty minutes, using just their imaginations as inspiration. Some of our competitors have been painting for years and others have only recently picked up a paintbrush. It’s the same for the audience members; some have never set foot in an art gallery.”


      Sophie agrees: “this makes art accessible. Some people can be intimidated going into a gallery environment, for various reasons, some people think they’re no good at art. Maybe they don’t understand it but this event provides a platform for anybody just to come in, have a drink and see art created as well as participating in the voting. It is a fantastic night for everybody who comes."

      By Anthony Murphy