This past weekend, if you weren’t attending an Infringement Festival event, or you weren’t paddling in a flotilla along the Buffalo River (Buffalo Float 2018), then maybe you were at the inaugural Paint vs Paint event on the city’s East Side. Buffalo Rising was a proud sponsor of this paint-packed event, which brought together paintballers and street artists from all over the country in a “legit” indoor/outdoor urban venue.
I spent a good chunk of the day at Normel Paintball on Saturday, catching action on the turf field, among the building ruins, and out in the neighborhood. According to plan, a lifelike owl was painted on the side of The Twilight Grill (lead image) by Mr Pvrt, much to the excitement of the bar owners (see background). Organizer of the street art side of things, Vinny Alejandro, did an amazing job of gathering together some impressive talents for the event. Over 20 street artists from far and wide attended the gathering, resulting in a colorful cacophony of walls the likes that Buffalo has never seen. According to a handful of local street artists, there was overall praise for the event, which offered a legit venue for the artists to do their thing. The paintballers voiced similar sentiments by saying that they finally had a place to play locally, instead of driving long distances to play.
For a short spell, I donned a paintball mask, and was invited to take some photos out on the battlefield during a match. It was wild to be surrounded by guys and girls dressed in combat gear, who were brandishing automatic paintball weapons. This was the first time that I had ever seen a paintball game played, up close and personal. I will tell you one thing. This game a real adrenaline pumper. I wasn’t even playing, and I was astounded by the quick pace of the action. These players are not joking around – they take it very seriously. There are team tactics that are similar to what would be seen on an actual battlefield. For anyone looking to try something new, I would highly recommend booking some play at Normel Paintball.
As for the street artists, they were everywhere – indoors and out, climbing on scaffolding, using paint extenders, painting in dark corners, painting out in the open… it was a street artist’s dream. I found it especially interesting when an occasional errant paintball escaped from the netted paintball zone, splatting on one of the compound’s building walls. While is was not intentional, it did add an entirely different element to the varicolored pieces that were being painted.
Throw in some DJ music, spray paint can sales, and a food truck, and I would have to say that Paint vs. Paint was one of the more unusual events that I have ever attended in Buffalo. And the most beautiful part is that this is just the beginning. There will be more festivals and events dedicated to paint. This paint paradise will only get bigger and better as time goes on. Buffalo will also be known for supporting the street art community, and the paintball community, both of which have been looking for legit outlets for years.
Normel Paintball | 482 Howard Street | Buffalo, New York 14206
Find Normel Paintball on Facebook | Paint vs. Paint was sponsored by Cellino Plumbing | Mike May with Paint only Group sponsored the street art