“The Election of the First President” Art Battle

Chateaux-Capri Stovall | The Signal
Fabian Williams sings the Nation Anthem at the beginning of the show.

Chateaux-Capri Stovall | The Signal
One of the artists running for president paints a portrait of an audience member.

The World Wide Arts Federation (WWAF) presented “The Election of the First President,” at The Goat Farm Arts Center on Oct. 17. The Art Battle Series featured renown visual artists Fabian Williams and Fahamou Pecou. This presentation was in correlation to the 2012 Presidential Election consisting of paint and canvas.

Several spectators and various artists gathered and mingled in a large room with a stage and large screen at the forefront. Soon, Williams took the stage wearing a suit and his head and face were completely covered with a red garment while wearing sunglasses.

The large screen flashed the American flag and a bald eagle as he sang his own rendention of the National Anthem with one female backup singer.

Immediately afterward, Williams introduced the two artists running for president. They were to paint a portrait of one individual each from the crowd while simultaneously giving their campaign speeches.

Maurice Evans, a musician and painter who was present at the event, explained what this new presentation of art entails and how it began.

A few years ago Evans said they were in a sketch group that met every week. They would find a model and do live drawings. One day, after one of the sketch groups, Williams told Evans he and another artist were in an ongoing disagreement online.

“He said he was commenting on someone elses thread…and then she made a comment on him as if he wasn’t a good artist,” Evans said.

Williams felt disrespected by that, so Evans said he suggested to respond in a video and call her out online. Evans said Williams was then reminded of an idea he had. Williams always wanted to combine painting with wrestling.

“So that’s what he did,” Evans said.

Evans described the show as taking Bob Ross, the late American painter, and Dusty Rhodes, WWE wrestler, better known as “The American Dream,” and combining the two.

“So in wrestling you have the theatrical trash talking; you know it’s all staged, even though they want you to believe it’s real. So that is the acting part,” he said.

It’s another way of presenting art, Evans said. In the beginning, artists were able to challenge other artists on video and they would put it on Facebook and Youtube. It was all to promote the show, encouraging people to see two artists battle each other, he said.

“Most of the time art can be very stuffy,” Evans said. “It’s about coming to a froo froo gallery and everybody’s being pretentious and drinking wine and trying to intellectualize art. And a lot of times that turns away maybe the average person. So this is another way to introduce people to art in a fun kind of way.”