Blink and you might miss them — the sleek open-wheel racing darlings with front and rear wings that tear up the tarmac unapologetically at speeds of up to 400km/h; their loud, throaty purrs, the racers’ visceral need for speed, the glittering lights and the crowds’ enthusiastic cheers electrify the heady, thrilling atmosphere. A headliner since its inaugural debut in 2008, the Formula 1 Night Race has been a yearly staple in Singapore’s motoring calendar. The exhilarating experience bears a certain je ne sais quoi, a thrilling ephemeral moment of primal urgency, triumph and glory; and it is this exact evanescence that is immortalised in tangible objets d’art at the 2016 Singapore Arts Circuit.
Founded by F1 enthusiasts, Bret Reynolds and Jason Epstein of Elemental Worldwide Management, the Singapore Arts Circuit seamlessly melds the realms of art, motorsports and charity into a glitzy affair. The three-day live painting exhibition by renowned artists such as Paul Oz, Paul Peterson, Armin Flossdorf and Alex Wakefield offers a different dimension to race weekend and adds to the city’s already flourishing arts scene.
Expect dashes of acrylic paint, swathes of watercolours and refined strokes to elevate the mean machines and their drivers into the subjects of large canvases and artistic palettes, of which many original paintings will be auctioned off for charity.
“The purpose of art is to inspire and evoke an emotion; it motivates, it saddens, it touches the same nerve a person feels when they are in love. Every one of those descriptors can be easily applied to Formula 1 racing,” explains Reynolds. Alluding to the beauty and engineering of the cars, the vicarious bacchanal sensation felt by the riveted audience and the thrill of witnessing one’s favourite driver standing on the podium, Epstein juxtaposes athleticism vis-à-vis aestheticism, calling them “easily connected in that they evoke similar emotions in all humanity”.
The overarching theme of unbridled passion — for both motorsports and art alike — easily complements the event’s charitable aspect. All proceeds from the event will be channelled to the Autism Association of Singapore, an organisation which supports over 65,000 families affected by autism. “We believe that upon evoking emotion, people are more willing to listen and become educated about certain causes that are in need of attention,” Reynolds says.
Such a sentiment is shared by famed British artist, Paul Oz, who is best known for his explosive paintings made with a thick layer of oil and acrylic paint. His personal penchant for Formula 1 is evinced in his rousing renditions of the motorsport, noticeably so in his vivid portrayal of legendary drivers such as Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher in action. “What sells artwork is emotion — and there are few fields where emotions are stronger than sport,” says Oz. Of his countless works and partnerships with innumerable galleries and charitable organisations, the artist counts live painting on the posterior of a yacht during a Monaco race week as one of his most privileged “shake ya head moments”. It is Senna, the late three-time Formula 1 World Championship winner whose philanthropic efforts eclipse even his racing accolades, whom Oz credits as inspiring him to give back through his artistic endeavours.
Reifying the parallels between motorsport and art is the Singapore Art Circuit’s piquant juxtaposition of the artworks and their subject matter. The event also showcases an arresting array of hottest sports cars of 2015 and 2016.
The 2016 Singapore Arts Circuit will run from September 16-18 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre