The Times cartoonist to compete in underground Art Battle Manchester

A very special guest will join the ten artist line-up for Art Battle III; Manchester’s newest social spectator event. Tony Husband, Private Eye and The Times cartoonist will enter the ring and go head to head with nine other artists competing for audience votes in order to be crowned the champion artist.

Never held in the same place twice, the third underground live painting experience will take place at Oxford Road’s Contact Theatre. With easels set up in-the-round, Art Battle III will see Husband plus nine other artists laid bare as they take on the challenge of creating a piece of original artwork in just 30 minutes. Over 200 audience members will circulate to decide who should progress to the grand final at the end of each round via ballot box vote.


“We wanted to do something really special for our third event,” explains John Macaulay, organiser of Greater Manchester Film Festival and Manchester Cathedral event Music For Cities, who runs Art Battle with artist and art historian Sophie McNeill. “We’ve always had a diverse collection of visual artists, but wanted to mix things up a bit and thought Tony would be a great competitor... he’s the first cartoonist to take part.”

 It usually only takes two minutes to create one of my cartoons, who knows how I’m going to fill the other twenty eight!

Aiming to bring art appreciation to the masses, members of the crowd can also walk away with the artwork itself as each of the artists’ creations will be put up for silent auction. Half the proceeds raised will be split between the artists themselves with the other half donated to charity. Raising over £1000 for local charities Mustard Tee and Band On The Wall to date, Art Battle III will make a donation to the Contact Theatre itself; an arts charity providing artistic opportunities for young people, many of who are marginalised, socially excluded, or from new or minority communities.


At Art Battle you don’t have to have lots of artistic knowledge to have a great night,” says Macaulay. “That’s the beauty of it - 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.” 


Among those taking part, the next event will see street artist David Yarnell who describes his work as “Street dreams of a conspiracy nightmare”, photographic painter Stef Trow who says “My art explores portraiture, the human form and the line between photography and painting”, and psychedelic dreamscape illustrator Lloyd Canning whose paintings are “totally out there and may challenge what you think you know.” Filmmaker compère Mike Dawson will lead proceedings with music provided by local DJs.


Whilst many events come and go like a flash in the pan, Art Battle III is quickly showing serious potential for longevity by spreading beyond its northern roots with artists travelling across the UK to take part and interest from several festival promoters. “We might have to do an Art Battle tour” says Macaulay. “Or a sculpture special - we’ve already been approached by a 3D artist about getting involved”. It just goes to show good things come in threes.


Date: Thursday 17th April 2014 
Venue: Contact Theatre
Doors: 7pm First Round: 7.30pm
Tickets: £10 from
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