By: Shelby Lum
Fighting with art? Count me in!
Super Art Fight is a hilarious mixture of comedy, games, and of course art. It is an art competition that pushes artists to their limits by pairing artwork with a live audience. Live commentary of the art goes on as the competitors work, bringing the night of comedy to a new high.
Get ready for artistic combat!
TALive got an exclusive interview with Marty Day, co-host of Super Art Fight:
Describe what Super Art Fight is and how it got started.
Super Art Fight is a unique mixture of live art, pro-wrestling style characters and improvised commentary. It originally grew out of the “Iron Artist” competition, which was a part of the DC-Virginia area convention Katsucon – back in February 2008, one event didn’t go to plan, and in the improvisation of saving the show, our co-founders, Jamie Noguchi and Nick DiFabbio started “attacking” each others art and playing up the competitive aspect of creating new art. The audience took to it like fish to water, and it was pretty much understood that this was a performance that could (and should) be replicated. Now, five years later, we’ve done over 75 shows in about a dozen states, taking us as far north as Boston, MA and as far west as Los Angeles, CA.
What has been the craziest topic on the Wheel of Death you have every used, or most creative?
The Wheel of Death (and more importantly, the fan suggestions which fuel it) is always unpredictable, and leads to some of the more memorable moments of a Super Art Fight show. Personally, some of my favorite topics have included Muppet Burlesque, Rejected Superheroes, Cute Animals on Fire, and HOLY S&%T! DINOSAURS!
Does the audience ever get to participate in creating the art?
The audience, while not an active participant in the drawing process, really helps fuel the art of Super Art Fight. Whether they’re yelling suggestions to artists during bouts, adding topics to the Wheel of Death on our website, or simply cheering their favorite competitors on, they make the show what it is. It doesn’t hurt that my co-host Ross and I like to egg them on whenever possible.
How do you choose artists to participate?
Originally, Super Art Fight grew out of an existing group of friends and fellow creatives. At this point, however, entry into SAF is a bit more of a formalized process – we have a yearly tryout event to test out new talent on the canvas – to see not only if they draw well, but also their ability to create new content in the moment and not freeze up before a live crowd. There are many talented artists out there, but not everyone can be “on” in front of a crowd, which is a major key in being a successful art fighter. That being said, whenever we travel into new cities, we try to hand pick some local artists to make every show special.
What was your favorite/funniest final product made?
Having been on hand for pretty much every single Super Art Fight bout to date, I’ve seen a lot of amazing art created in the moment – but I think our greatest work to date had to be our Super Art Fest event last year. Last May, we put together a marathon, 12 hour long live event, both in person and streaming online, where we sold all of the art generated that day and various other auction items to benefit the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. To know that our bizarre and surreal concept was ultimately benefiting such a greater good really made for one of the most rewarding events we’ve ever put on.
Have you ever had “attacking” the other team’s art get out of hand?
Usually, our referee, the unstoppable Brandon Chalmers does a fantastic job of keeping the artists on point and on the canvas. That said, at our recent Los Angeles event, some of the art went too far and ended up on the walls. There’s really nothing that ruins the rockstar-esque post show high quite like having to go back to a venue on a Sunday morning to clean the walls.
What is the best part about having art and comedy fused?
Art and Comedy are much like chocolate and peanut butter. Awesome on their own and absolutely fantastic together. So much of what makes the combination great is how we on the stage and those in the audience realize that what is happening at the event really will only exist in the moment – and it helps breakdown the creative barriers between an artist and their audience.
Frequently. Each of our artists tries so hard to not only keep the audience engaged, but also keep Ross and I on our toes. In fact, on more than one occasion, we’ve found ourselves (literally) drawn into the action – and it always cracks us up.