There is a lot going on around Peter Farmer when he is painting — beating music, buzzing crowds and blinking lights — but it doesn’t faze him.
“It’s great, there is so much drama and you get a rush as you go through the night,” he said. “I find the best brush strokes are within the first couple hours.”
Farmer will be putting brush to canvas at The Marquee Club tonight for the Maritime debut of Siren, a show melding art and hip-hop by Art Cabaret. The collective has held similar shows in Winnipeg and Montreal.
“The more you go over a painting and break it down and build it up again, it loses that kinetic energy,” said Farmer. “When you do it off the cuff, and you are flying, it ends up turning out quite good.”
While Juno-nominated DJ — and Halifax native — Skratch Bastid and others are spinning, Farmer will be on a stage busily working on his painting of a semi-nude mermaid set against the backdrop of a cliff. A live model will be used.
The Art Cabaret idea started around five years ago when the British-born Farmer was living in Winnipeg. Originally a graphic designer, he wanted to go to Europe and decided to sell some of his university-day paintings at his home. It worked, and he was soon on a flight across the Atlantic.
“I decided to keep doing it over and over again, but with more effort, bigger venues and more talented people around,” said Farmer, who also lived in Newfoundland and spent time in Halifax.
Actually painting at the show was an idea that was suggested later in Montreal by a fellow artist.
Farmer said events like Siren also take art out of the studio and out of the gallery, introducing it to a new audience.
“The galleries are great, and they play an important role, but it is not the only way people can enjoy art — and I don’t think it ever should be.”