No Fun Zone Collaborative Live Art Collective
If you’ve attended an outdoor music festival during the summer months, chances are you’ve seen an artist or two interpreting the onstage action across a large stretched canvas. In fact, over the past few years live painting has become a part of New Brunswick music festival culture. Through the work of artists like Kayleigh Kristiansen and Tom Smith, who make up the No Fun Zone Collaborative Live Art Collective, the pairing of live painting and live music no longer seems odd or unfamiliar. It’s now the norm.
“Tom and I have been live painting together for the last few years,” said Kristiansen. “This would be our third summer going strong as No Fun Zone. Tom did his first live art gig 14 years ago, and also did quite a bit of painting with Feels Good over the years. As for myself, I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid, but painting was something I’d never really played with.”
Kristiansen got her first taste of painting during the 2012 Evolve Festival in Antigonish, Nova Scotia when Smith invited her to join him onstage. “He invited me up on to the stage and we performed and made art for three days,” she said.
Their weekend partnership has grown into an in-demand experience. No Fun Zone’s combination of creation and performance has kept the pair active throughout the region interpreting each venue’s unique atmosphere into memorable works of art.
“We have painted a lot of events,” said Kristiansen. “I can think of 11 or 12 festivals that we have painted at every summer for the last three years and we do multiple paintings over the course of each weekend. But that’s just festivals, we have a lot of other events, parties, and shows that we do in between festivals and in the winter season. I’d say we’ve done a couple hundred at least.”
Time and experience has taught the pair how to bring a fresh approach to each new opportunity. Much like performing musicians, Kristiansen and Smith draw inspiration from the energy in the space and the audience around them.
“Each experience is different,” she said. “There is a fair bit of planning that goes into most of our live paintings. We try to incorporate things we find interesting about our surroundings, history, nature, folklore, etc. Our goal is to try and not paint the same painting twice. Sometimes this happens because you have some good tricks up your sleeve that you like to use, but the challenge lies in observation and development of technique and new ideas. It’s like science. It applies to everything we do inside the studio or out in the field at a festival.”
The upcoming exhibit Inside Outside will feature works inspired both on and off stage.
“This parallel was what inspired the name for the show,” said Kristiansen. “I think that a lot of the work we create live can be described as outsider art, meaning that it’s artwork created outside of the boundaries of official culture. But we also have work created inside those boundaries, stuff that demonstrates continuous study and observation that is done from home or wherever, and is not live art.”
With festival season fast approaching, both artists are preparing new ideas and concepts to incorporate into their work. Inside Outside will be a nice break in planning before another busy season begins.
“Our summer is filling up fast,” said Kristiansen. “We’re lined up for about eight festivals and counting thus far in New Brunswick, plus a little road trip to the USA for an art filled festival weekend with new friends. Folly Fest and Midsummer Madness are fast approaching so it’s crunch time for us. We have some new ideas for art and installations that we’re excited to see come to fruition.”
Get in touch with No Fun Zone and check out some of their work here.