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Meet Dustin Treinen of Art Battle in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dustin Trienen.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Dustin. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My background is rooted in music. I began playing live shows when I was 16-years-old in Omaha, NE and was so driven to make that my life that I took the initiative to book shows, then shows turned into tours in the early 2000’s. The tricky thing was that there was no playbook or right way to do it. The only bands in town that had made it out that I knew of were signed to labels with booking agents.

Taking the next step was literally researching, reaching out to bands in other cities, calling venues, and keeping yourself organized enough to do so. The resources were scarce. I just sort of figured it out because I knew what the goal was. It was arduous, but a huge learning experience and served as a gateway into entrepreneurship and managing a small business.

Once the DIY touring chapter of my life had more or less came to a close, I graduated college and started a web design and development business with one of my closest friends, which served as my introduction to being a creative professional. In 2011, I moved from Omaha to Los Angeles. I was still running my web business remotely, but I knew I wanted to be involved in something locally so that LA would feel more like my home.

An opportunity to producing art events with RAW Artists presented itself and because of my experience booking tours and running a small business, I decided to give it a shot. My experience there lead me to a recommendation to begin working with Art Battle.

Has it been a smooth road?
Not at all. The journey has been an adventure like any other with its fair share of ups and downs. It may be my upbringing and where I’m from, but I always had this impression that once you finish college, you get a job, and everything magically falls into place and your life is easy.

Working on events or anything entrepreneurial for that matter, you realize you care too much to take it easy. There’s always more you can do. It’s always a roll of the dice.

In my DIY touring days, it was things like being stranded with a broken van and no way to pay for it and no place to sleep that night. Typical band dilemmas, but you always figure out a way to problem solve and utilize the resources available to you.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Art Battle story. Tell us more about the business.
Well, I currently work for three companies! Art Battle is an international live painting competition. We host these competitions all across the globe. Each competition features two groups of 8 painters. They have 20 minutes to paint anything they want. We provide the canvas and the paint to keep the playing field level.

After the 20 minutes is up, each audience member casts one vote for the painting they like best. The top 2 painters from each of the first rounds advances to the final round of four painters. They paint for 30 minutes, the audience votes, and we declare a winner. It’s absolutely thrilling, suspenseful, and energizing. All the paintings are available for purchase in a silent auction throughout the night and artists receive commission.

I also work for Two Bit Circus, the world’s first high-tech micro-amusement park, located in the arts district of Downtown Los Angeles. It’s a giant indoor location full of VR experiences, re-imagined carnival games, Story Rooms, arcade games, a restaurant, and a robot bartender, most of which was built in-house by our team. I book special events there.

Lastly, I have vegan apparel company called In Vegan Veritas, which means “In Vegan There Is Truth”. I believe that veganism is morally the right thing to do. I could write you a book on it, but I’ll try to keep this brief for the sake of the reader’s sanity. There is too much cruelty and suffering in the world, but we can remove a huge part of that simply by eating a diet that is beneficial to our health and the planet. It’s win-win-win. The best way to get people on board with a movement is to make it cool so I have been making designs that are typically equal parts silly and cool. I pay homage to things I enjoy like Nirvana, The Simpsons, Pink Floyd, motorcycles, and metal.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I can see Art Battle becoming big on a live streaming service because when people follow artists on social media, they’ll want to tune in to watch them compete and route for them. Competition viewership seems to be engrained in human DNA.


  • Art Battle Tickets are $15-$20

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Craig Olejnik

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