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Paint It Black - Art Battle BKK

After watching last February’s Art Battle event (*) I thought it might be fun to sign up for the next one.

Photo: Leo

I contacted the organization, received their application, filled out the necessary details, uploaded some samples of my work, and was accepted a few days later, done!

Old scanned photo from the Dark Ages

One minor detail, I hadn’t done anything like that before, most of my pre-digital work was done lightyears ago and took considerable time…

Another one from days gone by

The advantage was (& is) that I still sketch everything on paper by hand, scan the results, and then finish everything digitally. But obviously, that wasn’t going to work for the Art Battle! And there was a 20-minute time limit…

Clearly, I had to return to basics, keep it simple, and use the old saying ‘Less Is More’ as a guide.

First I went upstairs and ransacked my storage (junk according to my wife) room for any old art equipment. 

This little trip on its own could be made into an Indiana Jones horror movie, but I did retrieve a bunch of markers.

Most of these were almost dried out which wasn’t surprising as I hadn’t used them in at least 20 years or so…

Despite this, I made a few attempts on paper which were not very satisfying, no surprise really.

Next step, visit a decent stationery store and buy new markers + paper at canvas size: 50cm x 60cm

Luckily there are still a few good places in town and soon afterwards I started practicing.

On purpose I only took a few basic designs to work on: cat, bird, text, and abstract.

After all for the Battle I only needed 2 pieces and for the next few weeks, I practiced daily with all kinds of color combinations.

Various dry-runs...

Finding the right combination took a while, but that was all part of the preparation.

In the meantime I got comments from friends, asking me if I wasn’t nervous or worried about joining such an event.

Not really as I had several exhibitions in the (granted, by now distant) past, and for me the main purpose was the experience itself.

Performing in public on a tiny stage and cranking out some sort of art within 20 minutes.., cool!

However, getting the right colors was a bit of a struggle, I had to adjust my technique a bit.

I also did a few time sessions, just playing a 20-minute song while drawing, no problem at all.

Working on a canvas standing on an easel was not my ideal way of doing stuff.

I contacted the organizers and requested a chair to sit down while keeping the canvas on my lap.

This way it is much easier to move the canvas around while drawing, I always do the same on paper!

Finally it was the big day and loaded with a box full of markers I set off for The Fig Lobby.

I arrived on time and met some other artists, all younger than me, but so what?!

In the small staff/artist corner were food and drinks, well organized!

The notice board showed the participants for each round, I was in the second.

For a brief moment I considered just writing my name under Champion and telling the other artists to sod off, but some sensitive ones might start crying ‘Foul play!’…

Photo: Leo

Once all the artists had arrived we did some group pics and had a briefing about the logistics.

2 rounds of 6 artists each, each round had 2 survivors, and the final 3rd round would have the remaining 4 battling against each other until only 1 left…

Photo: Mai

A little later my friends (Leo, David, Jane), as well as (ex)colleagues (Sofia, Mai), started arriving, nice to have some fans!

The first round started and 6 artists were busy painting their hearts out.

By now there was quite a crowd and it was a bit difficult to move around, but overall a mellow atmosphere.

The first round was finished and anyone who cared could vote for his or her favorite piece online.

That was my battlefield...

Video: Mai

Time for round 2, I collected my box of markers (+ a stool) and sat down in front of my canvas.

Video: Sofia

The presenter introduced the artists of the 2nd round and as usual mispronounced my name: ‘On Stage 2, Art58Co-en!’

Countdown: 10, …, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, artists, start painting!

I grabbed an orange marker, put the canvas on my lap, and quickly drew a few thick lines.

Segment from the official Art Battle YouTube video

Mirror photo: Mai

After that I was in the right flow, working smoothly, just adding more colors and details.

Photo: Sofia

Photo: Leo

About 5 minutes before time I realized it was done, no need to add anything else, again, less is more!

Once the other 5 finished, the voting (& bidding, as the works were also on sale!) started again.

Photo: Sofia

David had suggested letting the presenter announce 'that I was already very old, would die soon, and afterwards my work would be worth gazillions…'

Everybody knows that artists only get famous once they kick the bucket, thanks, but no thanks, David!

All voting results were coming from the Art Battle HQ in Canada, 4 names were announced, but not mine…

No big deal, after all, I was only here for the experience and now at least I could drink a beer! 

Also receiving photos and screenshots (the event was streamed live) from friends was fun.

Comments were positive too, e.g. ‘Watching the artists in "battle", I got the impression that some approached it as a contest of filling the canvas with as much paint as possible, in the broadest range of colors.  And they did that impressively. You took a simpler and more elegant approach, allowing space for your lines to flow and showing that less can be more.’  

Round 3 between the 4 remaining artists started, it was fun to watch them as an outsider again.

Finally the winner was announced; Pongputhan Thandee, congratulations!

Photo: Art Battle

All that remained was the after-party + waiting for anyone who had bought something.

Photo: Mai

My friend David and his daughter had already informed me there was a bid on my work.

As they had enough to drink already I asked why they didn’t return home.

David laughed, Jane had bought my painting as she had won the lottery!

To celebrate she decided to give me a leg up, helping out her dad’s poor artist friend…

Suddenly Jane exclaimed, she noticed that she’d been outbid!

That was a surprise and only after they’d left I was approached by a Thai lady who introduced herself as the buyer!

She told me her apartment was very minimalistic and my piece would fit in nicely!

We took some photos, I finished my beer and went home, all in all, a very pleasant event!

Photo: Namm

The whole Art Battle can be seen here:


Pongputhan Thandee is currently studying at Silpakorn University. His work includes both oil and acrylic paint.

Noinah is a cartoonist and artist from Thailand. He has been working in art for more than 20 years. His art is full of emotions that he wants to express.

C.Vidal specializes in crafting hyper realistic portraits and abstract artwork, finding joy in exploring various mediums such as oil, pastels, acrylic paints, and mixed media techniques to bring his creations to life.

Peakkyboo's art is all about emotion and she hopes the people who see her work can relate to the emotions and feelings when looking at it.

Manasaporn is an impressionist artist who combines the contemporary elements of today's society, including nature and people through the technique of impasto work.

Zirmangoes loves travelling and sketching everything she sees. Normally, she focuses on digital painting and creating her own original Manga.

Orange.painter gets inspiration from different people trying to use survival instincts in today's society where things are happening, both good and bad.

The majority of Daniel's work is self-initiated with the primary goal to capture images of people in both their natural and surreal states of life. He finds the most interesting backgrounds for his art in dreamscapes like oceans in a storm or cold, abandoned factories.

Tan-staR is a digital and craft artist from Thailand. An independent illustrator and a special instructor for 2D animation, Tan-staR has a passion for craft and animation.

Nun believes there is beauty in everything: just express it. His skillset includes drawing, painting and photography.

Jaroenta art is abstract mixed with mixed media. Jaroenta makes art from person thoughts, using their emotions and feelings to write them in the frame.



Super Koen! Great post and I liked your wit in between. Congratulstions on having a successful event...and, does this mean you will be reinvited next year?


Thanks Steve 😄 actually I wouldn't mind giving it a second try!


Well done! Looks like you had a lot of fun


Yes I did 😀


It was quite an experience "sitting in" on the Battle. It seemed very immediate, and i enjoyed the contest.