If an artist applies paint to canvas, but there’s nobody around to see it, did it happen? Not according to Guinness World Records.
Antonio Acosta set out to break the Guinness world record for longest painting marathon on Friday, March 17 — and according to him, he accomplished his goal. But the 40-year-old Oxnard artist met with a few snags during his 72-hour painting extravaganza. A power outage resulted in the cameras used to document his work going offline for 38 minutes, and the witness called in to corroborate those unrecorded minutes never showed. “For 38 minutes I could not prove it,” Acosta explains. If you can’t show Guinness documented proof of every minute of your record attempt, it doesn’t go in the record books.
But Acosta refuses to let a technical snafu stand in the way of his dream. He intends to make a second attempt this weekend, April 7-10, at Corner Pocket Billiards in Downtown Oxnard. “This time around, I’m doubling up on everything,” Acosta says with a laugh.
The current record holder is Roland Palmaerts, a Belgian artist who painted for 60 consecutive hours in Arches, France, in 2013. He accomplished his goal by finishing one painting an hour. It’s a technique Acosta intends to follow . . . somewhat. “The way he did it, it kinda lends itself to painting fast,” Acosta says. “So I’ve been speed-painting, which has been fun. But it’s the staying awake part that is a bit more challenging.”
Acosta intends to paint 72 pictures, of varying sizes, taking inspiration from the city of Oxnard. Eighteen geographic locations will be painted four times each, one picture for each of the elements earth, wind, fire and water. “Each location will be themed,” he says. “Any person who lives in Oxnard will instantly recognize it.”
Acosta is interested to explore how this mentally and physically taxing experience affects his art. “I’m curious to see how my body reacts, and what the quality of the painting will be, the longer it goes on,” he says. He’s hoping a “raw” quality will emerge over time.
Acosta’s route from aspiring artist to painting marathon record-breaker has taken a circuitous route. Born and raised in Oxnard, he spent a few years “living off my artwork” in South Carolina before coming back to California to help his father run the family billiards hall on Figueroa Street. When his father suffered a stroke, Acosta became his primary caretaker until his death in 2013. Acosta now studies art at Oxnard College. Breaking this painting record is a way of honoring both his hometown and its art community.
If Acosta accomplishes this goal, he plans to follow up with two more Guinness World Records attempts. He hopes to organize his fellow Oxnard College students to paint the world’s largest painting by a group, with 1,764 people coming together to paint a 300-foot-by-300-foot work of art. After that, he aspires to break the record for world’s largest painting by an individual, taking his brush to an 800-foot-by-300-foot canvas.
But first things first. Acosta’s second official attempt at breaking the Guinness world record for a painting marathon starts this weekend and he is fully focused on this one goal.
“I’m looking forward to doing this, and bringing the record home to Oxnard,” Acosta says.
Antonio Acosta will be painting April 7-10 at Corner Pocket Billiards, 658 S. A St., Oxnard, starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 7. For more information, call 832-4503 or visit www.oxnard.org.