Review: Art Smash x 3 at The Oxford Hotel

Words by Lucy Regter
Photos by Maria Petroff

Every second Wednesday, The Oxford Hotel holds an original event that invites artists to live paint and then have their work auctioned. However if the art isn't sold for more than the reserve, it gets destroyed. "Smashed", if you will. The event carries out comfortably within the art-strewn Oxford that has a reputation for supporting the artistic community and breathing vibrancy into an otherwise quiet weeknight in North Adelaide.

In an Art Smash first, this week boasted three totally unique, local artists; Dave Court, Azzurro and Jack Fran. With a handful of sporadic splashes from Dave that spread to all 3 previously blindingly white canvases, the evening began. With no prior-planning or brief to meet, the guys approached their respective pieces tentatively but naturally, not appearing phased by the dozens of watchful eyes behind them.

An art-pop cheeseburger began to appear in the centre of Court's canvas, while Azzurro gained momentum with a neon nuclear explosion and Fran fleshed out a pair of elegant eyes in the middle. While watching each stroke, we quietly took on the role of the artist. We started to decide what the end result will be, which colour to use next, what should fill the background. And one of the beauties of a live paint is to have these perceptions challenged and altered to how the artist is actually approaching their piece. There were a string of small surprises throughout the session; Court's burger was joined by some funky sponge effects (yep, you're thinking of this video), Fran went h.a.m with the spray bottle and Azzuro added an array of react buttons to his macabre mushroom cloud.

After two hours of painting, the auction resulted in all 3 pieces going to one punter for a lot more than $50. In effort not to skip the 'smash' element of the night, Hayley Pearson and Lauren DeCesare from Adelady finger-painted a pineapple/carrot hybrid that didn't push more than $20 - meaning it could not exist on this earth any longer. The cheers were surprisingly enthusiastic as we raised our beers and watched DeCesare awkwardly stab away at a piece of canvas with a pairing knife. Art, people.