Words: Isobel Armstrong

Let there be paint!

As promised, the ARTGAMES delivered unto the Good Shepherd a harmonious package of visual and audible arts on Sunday night. Such is the expectation of local artists Edi Udo, Steve Browne and DEBT battling it out to the sounds of MOANA and FUZZ TOADS.

Stepping inside is a treat in itself thanks to the Good Shepherd’s fresh new facelift- though that same huge and glorious reproduction of the Last Supper still hangs on the wall to remind you of your sins before the night is done. Weaving between the relaxed crowd of artsy-types, I’m reminded of an impromptu Retro Vinnies party. Double denim, moth-eaten kimonos, berets, cowboy boots, the effervescent frontwoman of MOANA in tight black leather flares, and their bass player in a dazzling Angus Young-like combination of leopard print tights, red knee highs, a Nike cap, and a mysterious backpack that stayed on for their whole performance. Someone yells at him to take it off, and someone else yells back that it holds nothing but a spare pair of tights and a pack of cigarettes. Fair enough.

The art itself is the kind that knocks you right in the self-esteem. It looked so fluent and talented, and everyone was flicking their attention between the 2-hour countdown above the three canvas stations and the stellar performance on stage. There didn’t seem to be any stress on behalf of the painfully talented artists - well before time ran out, each has crafted something wonderful. Edi Udo had fashioned what appears to be a tribute to woodland nymphs and other women of the Earth. Steve Browne (Monsters As Friends) had conjured up a poignant and beautifully dark scene reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. DEBT exhibited raw talent through his minimalistic, but meticulously realistic body of work. At the end of MOANA’s set, time was up and everybody dropped a golden bottle cap into the jar of their favoured piece.

The next round will be the last before the semi-finals begin, and I highly recommend attending.

The post-live DJ set got cranking and the last men standing started to dance. Everything was winding up and I exited out into the alleyway (unofficial heart of the Good Shepherd). FUZZ TOADS were mingling with their audience, everybody hugging and talking and laughing. I always enjoy standing under the fairy lights: a victim of Shoe Tossing in Leederville. The staff closed the door, but somebody had gotten a hold of the paint bottles. It wasn’t looking good. An hour later, I’m scraping thick globs of bright yellow paint from my face and everyone in the laneway looked like they had just come out of a Colour Run. I loitered a little longer before wandering home to scrub the glittering red from my hair.

It’s Tuesday and my leg is still yellow. I think this is the sign of a good night.