ConceptArt.org is an international community of artists, tens of thousands strong -- everything from high school students to seasoned professionals. One of the more entertaining features is the Thunderdome. These are competitions where artists "battle" each other by drawing and painting -- a topic is chosen, a deadline set, and then...they are off to see who can top the other. No blood is spilled (usually) and no prizes are won, it's just a fun way for young artists to motivate themselves and hone their skills.
About a year ago, Cody Tilson (aka Strych9ine), organized a massive battle, calling to arms anyone in the ConceptArt.org community that wanted to draw until The Last Man Standing.It started with 144 artists and took the better part of a year to complete. In the first few rounds the results were understandably mixed -- in fact, part of the fun is watching students play along with professionals --but as the competition moved on most of the work was solid! In the end, the insanely talented Jason Chan was the last man standing. (The final round taking place during his senior year college finals.) Images created for "the Dome" have been accepted into Spectrum, England's Imagine FX, China's Fantasy Art Magazine, Australia's Expose....and no doubt, many other places.
Unfortunately the links are spread out all over the place, but here is a link to a round where the topic was "A child meets their imaginary friend."
Now, Last Man Standing 2 is in progress: 271 artists will create 396 paintings to come up with 1 winner.
I asked Cody, what on earth were you thinking?
Before I started Last Man Standing on conceptart.org, the forum was peppered with smaller, member-run Thunderdome art battles, but there hadn't been a massive competition for a while. It was born out of my own need to get off my then-lazy ass and work towards my own artistic development, and an opportunity to include hundreds of other artists in the process. It was a total shocker that I had to actually cut off admission into the first dome at 144 people, but it showed me that many artists, professionals and budding artists alike, were excited about the dome.Artwork from top to bottom: Jason Chan, Pandoras Box; Shelley Wan, Begining of the End; Dan Milligan, Boys vs. Girls: Tiffany Prothero, The Escape
With LMSTD2 I wanted to take the dome to the next level, make it somewhat of a recognizable force in the community, and with a role call of 271 people currently participating in the event, it's happening. When you have some of the most talented artists any online community has to offer participating and top industry professionals lending a hand to judge, it's hard to go wrong.
The best part about running the dome is seeing pieces created by community members specifically for this thunderdome being printed in annuals and magazines worldwide. I love to see the friends I've made getting the recognition they deserve, and it's nice to know that the Dome has provided the right circumstances for those pieces to be created.
There is no worst part...I've stayed up for hours getting final entry threads created and sifted through hundreds of emails to organize all of the art being entered, but I'd do it again any day. I'm not the only person putting in the time to make this thing float. Every artist involved is donating their free time to create works just for this Dome, and many are required to continue to do so as they advance through the rounds. That's hundreds of new pieces of artwork being generated over the course of the Dome, for no prize other than to know you fought your way through almost 300 people and came out the sole winner of the massive event. That's a contest with balls if you ask me.