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When Jason J. Johnston won first place at the Art Battle P.E.I. provincial finals last month, he was "in shock."
“I was kind of overwhelmed, at first, but now that it’s exciting,” says the first-time winner, who showed his winning entry to a packed house at the P.E.I. Brewing Company in Charlottetown.
No stranger to applying paint to canvas, he has been competing in art competitions on P.E.I. for five years.
“I came close a couple of times before, so I guess it’s my year,” says Johnston, with a broad smile.
His June win qualified him to compete in the 2019 Art Battle Canada National Championship in Toronto this week. The competition takes place Thursday, July 25 at the Great Hall.
“It’s really exciting…But one of the things really excites me is getting to compete with some of my favourite artists from across Canada.”
Artists like Joline MacKie from British Columbia and Moses Salihou, a Cameroon-born visual artist who now lives in Toronto, will be nearby waiting, as the crowd counts down from 10, for the competition to begin.
“It’s exciting but, at the same time, it’s intimidating.”
Whatever happens he hopes to learn from the experience.
On the day of competition, he plans to check in early.
“They go over the rules with us. We’ve got 20 minutes (to create a painting) on stage. And then there’s a meet and greet with all the people,” says Johnston, who is going with his wife, Emily.
During the competition the crowd moves past the six artists who are left standing, watching as the high-speed paintings unfold.
“I was terrified to go on stage the first time. I was afraid of messing up. But, after I stopped caring what people thought, I did much better.”