by Britt Chester

Ultimate Painting comes to Greensboro

| | @awfullybrittish

They say we “” “we” meaning every single person on Earth “” are our worst critics, but that saying will be tested when 12 local artists compete against each other in a competition art event called Ultimate Painting.

Ultimate Painting, a brand that has comfortably immigrated to the United States from Toronto, Canada, will be holding the first of its six events on Friday night at The Creative Center located at 900 Sixteenth St. in Greensboro.

“Ultimate Painting had an open call for people in cities that were interested in hosting events. When I saw that they were already established, I applied,” said Jeff Beck, owner of Menace Inc. Studios and host of the UP event. “The Triad area has so much in the way of local art.”

Beck explained to the UP organizers about his involvement in the art scene here, which ranges from owning a venue and hosting his own art shows, to merely appreciating the amount of creativity that is coming out of the next wave of artists attending UNCG.

“We’ve been doing competitive painting since 2009,” said Simon Plashke, co-founder of UP. Plashke had visited Greensboro in the past, and recalled how engaged the arts community was, as well as how active everyone in the community was with the arts.

“In the beginning it was really just an enjoyable pastime for a few friends to get together, but then people wanted to get some more,” he added. According to Plashke, UP has held “hundreds” of events similar to the one coming to Greensboro on Friday since the company started.

UP only employs five people on staff, but its network has expanded all over the country and world.

The competition that Ultimate Painting has developed happens to be something that Beck admitted he’d been thinking about for awhile. With the successful track record of events that UP has had, it made perfect sense for the two to connect.

UP events rely solely on the arts community willingly involving itself in what local artist and UP competitor Stewart Knight described as “friendly battle.”

The competition is based on three rounds, each one lasting 20 minutes. In the first round, six artists will paint their canvasses with only the top two moving onto the third round. Votes are cast by either voting via the smartphone UP application or submitting your voting entry via write-in in the voting jar. The second round follows suit with the top two moving on, and the final four artists will compete in the third round to determine the winner. Each artist’s work will be available for sale after each round with funds being split: 50 percent of the auction price goes straight to the artist, and of the remaining half, 40 percent goes to Ultimate Painting Greensboro (for future events) and the final 10 percent goes to Ultimate Painting.

Knight will be competing this year, along with 11 other artists. He is also a board member with Art For Art’s Sake, a non-profit organization based out of Winston-Salem. Knight teaches classes at AFAS’ Unleashed Arts Center in Winston-Salem.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what everyone pulls out to top each other. We know each other’s styles, so it will be fun,” Knight said.

Beck explained that he received nearly 30 entries for the first event, but was only able to choose 12.

“If you don’t get chosen for the first event, we are going to have a total of six events, so you have a pretty good shot for getting chosen for at least one of the events,” he added.

The events will be held monthly until the final city championship in June. Until then, Beck encourages artists to continue submitting applications through the Ultimate Painting website if interested in participating.

“The first event winner gets $100 and what we’re hoping through sponsorships is that we’ll be able to make that prize a bit more,” Beck said.

All of the supplies will be provided free of charge to the artist. The only thing required for the artists is the drive to create a 20-minute masterpiece faster than their peer. It could be a friend, but for 20 minutes, it’s a threat.

The North American championship will be held in 2015 (location to be announced) and it will bring together the best artists from all of the lead-up competitions. !


Ultimate Painting #6 is happening at The Creative Center located at 900 Sixteenth St. in downtown Greensboro. Tickets cost $7 (seniors/ students) and $10 (general admission). Event starts at 7 p.m.