By: Arthur Nguyen dao
Phare artists perform live painting since years in festivals, workshops and events. Sokha, one of the earliest shows created in Battambang also has a live painting performance included in the show. Have you ever heard of live painting?
Live painting is a form of art combining improvisation and public performance, often accompanied by music. The duration of a live painting tends to be short so that what artists create during such events is usually very different from what they do in their studio where they can use a lot of time. All types of painting genres can be included in a live painting event so that the creative potential of such event is immense. Graffiti artists used live painting as a defining criterion to their style from the 90’s. Some artists also introduce the participation of the spectators. Live painting has also been used as a restoration tool to facilitate communication within communities and people.
A live painting performance can be done with a single artist. It is also very often a moment of getting together between artists with very different styles and who may even not know each other. The experience of watching such gathering is somehow enchanting. The dance of colors of two great artists with different life experiences creates a truly mesmerizing impression.
For an artist, live painting is a way to allow the creative intuition to take over the thinking of the mind. It is like surrendering to one’s creative sense. The background music that is generally played during the performance allows the painter to become completely absorbed and focused on his emotions and feelings. The painter rocks on the rhythm of the music to let creation flow while the spectators look at a choreographed dance as if the painter was only the messenger of the music.
A live painting performance by the students of Phare Ponleu Selpak during the open days
Live painting is fascinating for both the viewers and the artists.
Viewers get the rare opportunity to see the process of artistic creation and thus understand it better. In a way, they are also involved in the operation of creation.
For artists, live painting is a thrilling experience. It is a moment of pure creative energy where there is no time for thoughts such as “will people like it?” or “what is going to happen?” Live painting is a different form of expression for the painter, a sort of magical aesthetic experience. It is not about getting the audience’s approval or painting the most beautiful artwork of their career, it is all about expressing what is deep inside. It is not about the final result, it is about expression and the need to paint.