While there are numerous places to spend your evenings during the Detroit Auto Show Press Week, the Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment™ is fast becoming a party you do not want to miss. Hundreds of people from the Detroit Business, Arts and Design community came together with the international auto industry to socialize, celebrate auto design and raise over $3000 for Project Beautiful – Inside and Out. And lest we forget, there is live sketching and the crowning of a Champion, the 2016 Sketchmaster.
The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment™ is a Fight Club of Design where automotive designers come together to sketch live, in front of an audience, to compete over 3 rounds for the title of Sketchmaster. Presented by Middlecott Design and AACS (Advanced Automotive Consulting Services), the 2016 event (our 7th) was also presented by BASF, whose anniversary colors were featured as the theme of the evening. Before we let you know the winner, here is a small sampling of the fun you missed.
A small crowd was already on hand before the doors opened at 7:00pm. The 14 contestants (Meet all the competitors here) arrived early with supplies in hand and made their way to the central table to find the luckiest seat possible.
Defending Sketchmaster Darby Barber (Here is her profile) even brought special colored paper to the competition. Her extra effort was admired by the judges Ralph Gilles from FCA, Bregt Ectors of GM, Kemal Curic of Ford and Paul Czornij of BASF (Meet all the judges here) .
The Lacks Trim System VIP room upstairs was a welcome respite for the judges and companies that support the event as it did not take long for the crowd to grow to the point where circulating with a drink in hand was attempted at your own risk.
If the first room was at capacity, there was always the second room to enjoy. Munk’s Motors helped bring Curt Snyder’s vintage Volkswagen Bus as a blank canvas for the party guests to sketch on in exchange for a donation to charity. I guess that watching the talented designers sketch inspired the crowd as hardly a single surface was left uncovered. By the end of the evening there were people on step stools working on the roof.
Along with the VW, the gang from Mobsteel was on hand with their diesel semi Gangstar. The Gangstar is Mobsteel’s tow pig/ burnout machine. Powered by a pumped up 5.9 Cummins 12v. Equipped with air ride, triple stacks, and flame throwers just because it awesome. Adam and Pam Genai circulated through the party along with their team, signing autographs when a fan requested. It was nice to see that the success of the TV show hasn’t changed them. They were approachable and open to chat with anyone, a fine example of the Detroit spirit and community that the national media chooses to ignore. You can watch all the Season 1 episodes of Mobsteel on NBCSports.com and see the Gangstar come to life.
As the first round progressed, the audience watched over the contestants skills at translating BASF’s color Nightfall Blue. Each round was a different color and the judges, led by Ralph Gilles, evaluated the sketches based on how the color was incorporated into the design and overall how it was used in the sketch.
Between rounds you could find the Team from the Ford GT sketching for charity in the back room. David McCall and Colin Bonathan, exterior and interior designers from the 2017 GT donated their time and talent to support Project Beautiful. Party guests made donations and the two designers provided 3 minute sketches for everyone who made a donation.
Later in the evening Camilo Pardo took over and between the three of them raised over $700. A personal thanks to Camilo, whose first sketch was for a young aspiring artist, you may have encouraged an entire career path. In addition to Camilo, Alikhan Kuldjanov took a seemingly benign request from a Corvette fan and came back with this stunning piece. You can find more of Ali’s work here.
Only 7 of the contestants made it to round two: Darby Barber, Ian Broekman, Omar Gonzalez, Randy Hjelm, Beomseok Kim, Josiah LaColla and Justin Sorum. In Round 2 the sketchers had to imagine a car or truck inspired by BASF’s Fresh Mint as the party rocked on through another 30 minutes of sketching and tunes.
In addition to the art available from the charity sketchers, Fiat Chrysler donated several prints of the original artwork for the Hellcat and Play Station Tomahawk to those who made the largest donations (you know who you are Scott, Rick, Justin, Tony, Michael, Steven, Jonathan and Courtney). And Ford donated prints of the original artwork for the GT which was used as a random drawing door prize and won by Rex Miller and Aaron Stachewicz. (Read about the artists and art here)
After two rounds of sketching we were down to the four finalists for the $1,000 Top Prize. Darby Barber, Ian Broekman, Omar Gonzalez and Justin Sorum spent their last 30 minutes sketching in Arjean, a special silver/blue metallic developed by BASF.
And while the evening was disguised as a party, at its core it was really a benefit for charity. In the end the event raised over $3,000 for Project Beautiful, the brainchild of Doris Gilles. The funds generated will be used for the Day of Beauty Program where shelter residents are provided with a special afternoon of pampering and fun with the goal to improve the self-esteem and confidence of the shelter residents.
Before we finish with the announcement of the winner, we would be remiss if Brook and I didn’t send a shout out to our fantastic partners who were not mentioned above, without whom an event of this magnitude would not be possible. (Read about the event partners here.) Alison for managing the logistics and staff (Michael, Andrea, Fashon, Linda, Syd, Destiny, and Aaron thanks to you too). Joe at the Tangent Gallery for having the best industrial location for events in the whole state of Michigan. Melissa and Kristen for getting the word out. Mary and Yolanda and the entire team from BASF for supporting our vision – the event is 100% better than last year thanks to you. Jordan and David from ShannonLoren who along with our awesome friend Brad made the place look great under Judith’s watchfull and talented Graphic Design eye (how could I leave you out Judith – my apologies). Mark and the team from Lacks Trim Systems for being our longest supporting partner – it means a lot to us that you keep coming back. Michael and the team from Linkage Design and James from Autodesk – we love having you here. First time partners Colin and the team from ABC Group – we hope this is the beginning of an awesome marriage. Ali and Taylor from AllTheSketches who helped us find the best most talented contestants and Ali filled our VIP room with art. And lest we forget, John Sauve, another unsung hero that is always championing our endeavors and making things happen.
And so, without further ado, the winner of the 2016 Detroit Middlecott Sketcbattle Experiment is, all the way from California, Omar Gonzalez.
Photo Credits: Ingo Rautenberg