November 18, 2012

Free Hamilton

Did anybody else this notice this?
 I don't think it existed for any longer than couple of days.

Designed and painted to further enrich the corner of Colbourne and James with the grit of Detroit for a RoboCop setting.  The mural was more than just a backdrop for a movie set, it proved to be an interesting addition as an authentic looking vandalized wall created of fictional tags and bombing foreign to Hamilton's street art community.  It goes to say that regardless of taste, if you have the money and permission for a mural, anything goes.  Even if it looks like it was peeled off the dilapidated backside of a distant city.  The mural's lifespan was short, as it was blasted from its surface only days after it was painted.  Like any other artistic contribution to the city, this mural required a great deal of time and expertise, which made me wonder... what would it take for the community to embrace this?

I assume a collaboration of the city's broken window paranoia syndrome and the community's patriotic displeasure of having a piece of Motown on their favourite part of James Street could have only resulted in a quick ending.  However, picturing a circumstance in the which the mural might have been allowed to stay wouldn't be that hard, but it would have had to adhere to a lot of demands.  I can just imagine the higher echelons high-fiving over an agreement to cover the word Detroit with Hamilton and coordinating the local schools to contribute their anti-bullying awareness campaigns as a series of brightly painted silhouettes of children holding hands or painted plywood scraps cut out in the shapes of fish.

A shockingly realistic mural of illegal graffiti could help open the dialogue about aesthetics, boundaries and censorship in our culture.  The majority of permitted graffiti murals are very carefully curated and never accurately represent the roots of the discipline.  An approved mural of vandalism, could perhaps be the avant-garde pylon that Hamilton has been waiting for, smack dab in the centre of the art crawl too!

All artistic criticism aside, keeping a mural of this sort as a token of the film industry's hard work and growing precedence in our community can be thought of as a souvenir.  The development of a city with the quirky odds and ends of Hollywood props scattered about could prove itself to be great treasure hunt for tourists.

When it all comes down to it, the fate of the Free Detroit mural would ultimately have been between the property owner and production company, and I imagine it would not be in the best interests of either to keep it, but I think it has allowed us the opportunity to see the versatility of our walls.  As building owners shuffle and gentrification begins to set in, Hamilton will soon house an expansive array of mural venues, and the creditability of Hamilton's emerging art scene will likely rest on the first impressions of its art in the public view. 

November 16, 2012

September Events

As busy as we had been in September, there was more to come.

Open Streets Hamilton
Sunday, September 23rd

The day was off to a chilly start as people leisurely began appearing on the streets.  James Street North was closed to regular traffic and being so close to the south end of the road closure, we were only able to witness the action from one end.
The festival was intended to promote people to leave their cars behind for a day and actively walk or bike to reacquaint themselves with downtown Hamilton.
Overall, after a bustling Super Crawl, Open Streets is a great idea and successful attempt at luring folks away from sluggish Sunday routines.
With no time to coordinate with the organizers, we still made time to contribute.  After an hour and a few boxes of sidewalk chalk we added a hopscotch from James to Hughson Street.  The only thing more rewarding than watching an overly ambitious jumper hop eagerly for a block, is being that person and completing it flawlessly!

King William Art Walk
Saturday, September 29th

An exciting feature about moving to King William Street was surprisingly hearing about the Art Walk.  The James Street Art Crawl has proven itself a great success for many years now and smart investment among those in control has been to help branch off of James' good fortune.  King William being so close to the downtown is a great candidate to help move things east and strengthen the downtown core.  The unfortunate use of King William as the 'back-alley parking lot' street should see its end nearing.    Hopefully, we can encourage walks and crawls onto Barton and King too.

Although small, this year's Art Walk proved to be a success as a crowd gathered and moved about down the street jumping from installation to installation with exhibitors discussing their work.  As soon as we learned about the Art Walk in August we excitedly requested to participate and gathered some artists together to take part.  After never hearing back from organizers we continued to coordinate our own plans.  Two days prior we had an installation artist restlessly awaiting response, two performance artists falling back on the gallery as a venue and a full exhibition of new artwork on the gallery walls ready.  On the day of, the space directly in front of the gallery was issued to a participating artist and we still had heard no response leaving us with no jurisdiction to install or perform.  In a matter of minutes, the walk was directed to the exhibit that was placed in front of the gallery and directed to proceed down the street to the next exhibit on their pamphlets. Fortunately, the curious ones didn't miss us, and surely came back.  Despite having lost the presence of our three artists after the Art Walk, we welcomed anyone who wanted to check out our brand new art gallery on their route.  We are always more than ready to take part in art events in our area, especially if they are scheduled to stop in front of our business.  After trying to further explore the miscommunication we were greeted with shrugged shoulders and a circle of pointed fingers.  Although disappointed, we were not really upset at anybody's decisions, but we truly hope we can all come together in the future to help better organize events of this sort so streets like King William can truly flourish and prove its potential.  The next time a new art gallery opens during an art event, we want to help them take part.  Thanks to the curious ones who looked beyond the boundaries, keep looking around the corners every art crawl and we can branch out our community.

November 14, 2012


September 14 - October 7, 2012

We had short notice on taking up the lease for the gallery and even shorter notice to assemble a collection of art to show. As a practicing artist myself, I was anticipating the moment I would be in dire need and developed a collection of work over the summer to show in case of these circumstances.

Titled Megacosms as a reference to the many geographical drawings that oftentimes resemble floating worlds or organisms on white backgrounds. There were 29 drawings in total, drawn in ink on paper, then mounted on wood panels of all different sizes.

After spending many years experimenting with the design and construction of many map-like and cellular drawings and installations, I have decided to integrate a stronger colour theory to my work to help emphasize certain aspects.  Previously when showing my Germination collection in 2011, colour was merely supplemented by a select few pieces to maintain a strong focus on forms and patterns of growth.  Lately, I have been drawn closely to the relations between colours used in my recent work and how they relate to the different surrounding shapes and forms.  This time around, I am really looking at the various perspectives from microscopic to intergalactic.  It is interesting to see where the viewers see themselves in relation.

Inevitably, such detailed works are a subject from many outlying influences.  A large variety of imagery comes to mind when thinking of visual inspiration, but to name a few I would start by stating what many claim to be the obvious.  Maps.  Yes, they tend to be among my primary interests when creating these works, and not just regular old cartography, I mean everything geography.  From tectonics and geological observations to urban planning and infrastructure design, I can stare at maps from morning till night.  Geography has been a huge interest of my since I was just a pod.  That being said though, I can not justify maps as the sole influence in my work.  A great deal of passion for me when looking at maps are the inherent comparisons between both natural and human growths existing harmoniously.  Or, sometimes seen in other perspectives as a parasitic relationship, but I am not going to get into that right now, the point is I have many other influences, I swear.  For a look at more organic patterns I often look at biology diagrams and for more technical reference I turn to circuitry design.  I also draw a lot of ideas from previous work in architectural and graphic design studies and a vast interest graffiti too.  All of those little details and accents that give life its attitude and style are what put me in danger of crossing the street without looking. 

Overall, to many, these new works may seem like a very colourful new rendition of the previous black and white drawings I have made in 2011.  However, when looking closer, there is a stark difference in the line work techniques used and a stronger general feeling of motion among the Megacosms drawings compared to the Germination drawings.  I believe I have found new ground in producing a much faster and more dynamic body of drawings with bright colours and long sharp stretching shapes, and I plan to take it much further.  In fact, I have already started, I actually have several new drawings at my side right now for my newest series titled Tranmission, an in depth examination of a more aggressive and intense adaptation of both Megacosms and Germination.

Unfortunately, this blog entry is long overdue, so I can't just say go check it out, but I can drop you some links.  The Transmission collection won't show its face until late 2013, but there will be a brief preview in Toronto this weekend and Megacosms will resurface this coming spring at Rebecca Gallery in Toronto.  Send me an email if you are interested.

Email me at

To see the full Megacosms collection click here.

To see the full Germination collection click here.

To see more of my art visit

November 12, 2012

Grand Opening

Friday, September 14, 2012

6:45pm - Last minute cleaning has pushed itself late into the early hours of the crawl.  Tensions ran high and the race to hang all of the art as soon as possible became a struggle as crawlers began peering through the slits of the paper covering the windows with an odd tug at the door handle.

7:30pm - Unveiling began and in flowed the curious people.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 2 proved itself the most popular among the crawlers, there was probably 5 times more people than the Friday.

The gallery swelled with large crowds of people washing in and out like waves well into the late evening.  Loud bass, balloons popping and the sounds of dozens of simultaneous conversations became the ambient tone over the weekend.  Like music to our ears, the combination of relaxing from the week's hard work and finally opening to the warm air and droves of excited people was the utmost rewarding feeling.

An F for getting things done on time but a A for being open for the Super Crawl.  We apologize to anyone who may been on the other side of the glass during those early hours that never had the chance to visit.

Renovations Begin

Early September shows its face and 51 King William still sits as a compartmentalized collection of rooms.  A quick ambitious decision arose to make one big room and before anything else could be said transformations had already begun.

Although pressed for time to open for the Super Crawl in one week, carefully dismantling the walls was crucial to save extra resources for later. 

A five person team working around the clock created an ongoing mess.

 Finishing touches on trim and flooring.

Although unfinished, with only one day remaining, renovations are wrapping up.

New floors, new walls, trim, lighting and a fresh coat of paint adorn the new space as it sits empty on Super Crawl eve only hours away from installing the very first exhibit.