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Paint + Shoot already, okay?

Graffiti + skateboarding + photographer = Whistler's latest arts competition this Sunday


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Here's the rub: four teams comprising of one graffiti artist, one skateboarder and one photographer will create a photography slideshow during a live event at the Whistler Skate Park. These slideshows will then be posted online so you, the fine people of Whistler, can choose the winner.

By incorporating three very popular activities into one event and adding a social media component, the Whistler Arts Council (WAC) — along with event creator Kris Kupskay — will merge three distinct sub-cultures for a celebration of all things creatively and absolutely Whistler.

"This is really about seeing how many different talents we can bring together and just have a really fun day," Kupskay says. "Let's connect the subcultures."

Each artist will have four hours to create and paint their new piece. Then, the skater will skate around the park while the photographers take the shots, incorporating the freshly painted pieces into each photo. There will be live music. There will be people (And that means you...right?). Ideally, there will be some sun.

That night, each team will submit a five-piece photo album and post it to the Paint + Shoot Facebook page. The public will then vote on their favourite album by clicking the "Like" button. Whichever team accumulates the most "likes" will win a "small cash prize" and assorted goodies from local retailers.

While this is technically a WAC event, Kupskay's been instrumental in its conception and organization. It is, ultimately, his idea and as far as he knows, there's nothing else like it anywhere in the word.

He's an experienced graffiti artist who paints under the alias KUPS. Since moving to town last year, he's painted numerous pieces in the skate park, many of which, he says, have ended up featured in the Facebook profile photos of skaters riding around the park.

There's no way around it: Whistler youth love to ride mobile pieces of wood. They also love to take pictures of each other doing so. And Whistler loves, as much as anything, a great photo competition.

So when WAC's event coordinator Andrea Mueller was discussing with Kupskay about creating an ArtWalk event specifically for graffiti artists, he decided that they should combine these two elements. Throw in some live music from DJ Rob Baanks and Vancouver punk band Multiple Partners, add a social media component, and you have a community-oriented event specifically for the Millennials.

"This year I decided to bring something in for younger people, that could bring art into a different area than usual," Mueller says.

During the WAC-hosted artist's meetings, held at the GLC in March, she'd received some feedback from local graffiti artists that there have been no events created specifically for them, other than the odd live painting as part of a wider event.

Paint + Shoot is the first graffiti-artist oriented event ever in Whistler. The four teams include: Kupskay, Sean Pettit and John Ross; Alex Rousey, Dave Chamberlain and Mel Saarinen; Liks, Spencer Lundin and Darby Magill; and Joel Loverin, Aaron "Pnut" Johnston and Josh Wilkie

The success of this year's event, along with the amount of future WAC funding, will determine if Paint + Shoot returns next year, but both Kupskay and Mueller have every intention of making this an annual event — one that will be ideally expanded as it progresses.

"We'd love to make this an annual event, for sure," Kupskay says." We've been getting tons of positive feedback already. It's been great. We had to cap it at the amount of people that we have (involved) right now because word of mouth spread. We just want to execute a nice, clean, positive event so we can start doing it again next year."

Mueller says Paint + Shoot is precisely the type of event that WAC wants to tackle more often — that is, events that are created and organized by enthusiastic artists within the community.

She says WAC wants to work with more artists in bringing their ideas, especially community-oriented ideas, to fruition but their limited funding and resources limits what the organization can do. The more time and energy that the artist is willing to commit the more events, like this one, Whistler will see.

"When an artist comes up with new ideas and says, 'Yes, I'm going to put in some time...' that's perfect for us, " Mueller says. "We have some of the skills to work from the event programming background to make sure that it's going to run smoothly, but for someone to come out, help and go through with it, that's really what we need more of."

The painting will begin at 9 a.m. and the skating/shooting will begin at around 1 p.m. This was conceived for an audience to participate in, so the more people that show up, the more fun it will be.

Check it.