There have been many Toronto visits the past month.
Last weekend I headed into the city to meet with my friend Vern, to check out City of Craft, and to show my support for the Day of Action rally at Queen’s Park (my first rally ever!).
I didn’t take a lot of pictures this visit. But one picture I did manage to snap was this one of Spadina station. I love how a lot of the subway stations in Toronto still look so retro. I particularly like the contrast of this red bench against the rusty yellow honeycomb-esque tiles.
One thing I love about Hamilton… are people who love Hamilton too.
When I was taking a French night class a little while back for an assignment we were asked to think of someone we admire to discuss for our next class as a conversation piece. People talked about Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, their mother or their fathers. I came to the next class and launched into how much I admire local Hamiltonian Matt Jelly. I had just moved to Hamilton and was inspired by Matt’s love and passion for this city. I admired his civic involvement and take-action mentality to get things done and create change. I like people who do what they say, and while they’re at it get other people motivated to do the same.
I live downtown, and close to the “International Village”, where I usually rarely make it past Dennigers heading east on King. I have always thought of King Street as a place with a lot of potential but just a little empty or dare I say vacant? More recently I have happily noticed new stores popping up in the neighbourhood like MODify Your Closet and Accoutrements. What pushed me further along east on King was that I really wanted to check out Matt Jelly’s recent art exhibition of Hamilton maps at Freeway Coffee House. So off I headed east on King past my usual landmark destination.
On my walk to Freeway I discovered so many new places like Tundra Leather -a one stop shop for all things related to leather and working with leather (tools and all!). It’s been open since 1963! How had I never noticed this gem? There’s a new bookshop (J.H. Gordon Books) that’s being primed to open too.
AND then there’s Freeway Coffee House. What an awesome space! They serve local Hamilton roasted Red Hill Coffee, they host events and parties, and they have huge windows that stretch nearly the entire length of the vast space between floor to ceiling overlooking the parkette across the street.
I loved Matt Jelly’s Hamilton map exhibit. I enjoy seeing and experiencing things that I have a direct connection to. So of course my favourite map was my neighbourhood’s map.
I had a friend that told me that when she was younger she’d always giggle and say “cooties” instead of “Cootes”. Haha Cooties Paradise.
Matt’s exhibit is showing at Freeway Coffee House until May 11th. If you’ve never been to Freeway or that neck of King Street go and check it out. Grab a coffee at Freeway check out Jelly’s maps, and then head over to J. H. Gordon Books, which is scheduled to open this month.
One of the perks of getting back into the teaching profession is March Break holidays and trips!
Steve and I headed down to New York City over March break to visit some friends, explore more of Brooklyn and indulge in some NYC art and food.
On a visit to the big apple last year, we checked out Chelsea and decided that we really wanted to go back to do some more exploring (I really did want to go to Chelsea!). We actually ended up spending a few days hanging around there. We walked the High Line, which was in glorious spring form.
The High Line is a 2.5 km park that winds around Chelsea. It’s actually an old raised rail line that has been transformed into a pedestrian walkway with natural vegetation, flowers, wild grasses, urban landscaping, and amazing city views.
On this particular day the sun was shining, and all the early spring foliage was already budding and blooming.
We also checked out the contingency of contemporary art galleries that are concentrated in Chelsea -nearly a whole 5 city blocks worth! The galleries are privately owned but occupy huge industrial spaces, representing some major players in art like Georg Baselitz and Roy Lichtenstein.
In terms of art we arrived in perfect timing to catch the last day of The Armory Show. It is one of the largest international art show and sales in the world and is only open to the public for four days. We concentrated mostly on the contemporary art section that took nearly 3 hours to walk through. It was a lot to take in visually all in one go and I left with my head in a bit of an art spin.
Once the art fix was satisfied it was on to the food! That’ll be my next post.
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 5 months since our renos. Which means it has also been 5 months of having bare walls. We finally got to hanging a few pieces, and even pulled some artwork from the attic that hadn’t been unbubble-wrapped or seen the light of day since we moved over 2 years ago! For the most part the artwork had been leaning up against furniture on the floors and collecting dust in our recently demoed attic.
Much of our decor and furniture are found or scavenged items and I can safely say that a large percentage of our art work cost us less than $5. I luck out a little here since Steve is an artist he does score some great trades (although I didn’t take any photos of those pieces -oops!).
This paint by number came around full circle in the fam. Steve and his brother and sister used to buy their grandfather paintbynumbers from way back in the day, and in time many if not most of these paintbynumbers are now in our hands. I especially like this one. One day we’ll either mount it or get an old frame to put it in.
During early September we decided that for next spring we didn’t want to have a barren dirt backyard, and so we thought we would try out a 100% clover ground cover. It’s actually clover and another plant with little yellow flowers, I forget what it’s called but it doesn’t matter because the clover is basically dominating anyway. Within a few short days of seeding, tiny clovers started shooting up and within a few weeks we had a full on clover patch!
As the cold and frost are settling in I’m happy to see that the clovers are toughing up. For a while we avoided stepping on them thinking we’d totally destroy them in their delicate state, but now I think they can withhold a good trampling and will likely last through the winter and develop into some nice plush ground cover come spring. We may have to add some grass to the mix because I think that 100% clover is hard to maintain. I was just hoping that we could grow something that wouldn’t ever need mowing.
With our new found growth of lush clover, Steve’s art installation from his Zoo exhibit found their way into the patch for a mini photo shoot.
I wanted to share some photos of the last art crawl before the Supercrawl, which was a busy one too.
The Friendship building was a buzz with the Beehive Craft Collective’s Craft Fair, and the galleries were packed and filled with hot summer air, the streets were full and everyone was enjoying a gorgeous summer night. It seems so long ago, now that the weather has really turned to fall.
Upon the 36th year of the existence of Hamilton Artists Inc. its new building at the corner of James and Cannon will officially open it’s doors tonight to the public at 7pm! The building will be home to contemporary exhibits, installations, events and performances.
I’m excited to see what the space is like and to check out the opening exhibit 4 from 6.
Hamilton Artists Inc. wall during the August art crawl, pre opening.
HAI Board of Directors inspect the new building
*Hamilton Artists Inc., 155 James St. north, Hamilton, 905.529.3355
For the past month I’ve been noticing these large portraits posted on walls throughout the city. Turns out this is part of a large global street art project called Inside Out or the Inside Out Project.
INSIDE OUT is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Upload a portrait. Receive a poster. Paste it for the world to see.
John between King & Main
King William, west of John
at James north & Mulberry
King William west of John
When I was in Toronto over the weekend I saw Inside Out portraits pasted up on walls there too. Some people might not welcome this type of street art, but I like the way it interacts with passerbys and how it brings a personal story to public places. I love even more that this is a global project. You can see a map here of people all around the world who have participated in Inside Out.
A few years back when we were still living in Toronto I went to Pages book store, when it still existed at Queen & John, and asked if they had any books about Hamilton. We’d already been crushing on Hamilton big time, and I wanted to indulge in our fantasy of moving to Hamilton by giving Steve a book about the city for his 31st birthday. The store clerk looked up at me in a bit of shock, and then clarified again whether I really meant a book about the city of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, really?
The only book in the entire store about Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, was a graphic novel titled Hamilton Sketchbook by David Collier.
I could not have asked for a better gift for Steve and introduction to life in Hamilton. I was so happy to have had the luck of stumbling upon such a gem of book.
After having moved to Hamilton, at an art crawl about 2 years back, I met David Collier at Mixed Media. He was selling and signing Part 2 of the Hamilton Sketchbook. I ended up buying this copy for another present for Steve.
There’s something really cool about reading about places you’ve been to and places you’ve lived in. I love the down to earth feel, and day to day life depiction of David’s work.
Today as I rode by Mixed Media on my way to work I noticed a poster by David in the window. Prints for $10 Hamilton Light Rail Transit.
I heard that David recently designed the album artwork for relatively new Hamiltonian Luke Doucet and The White Falcon‘s latest albumSteel City Trawler, which is a tribute entirely to the city of Hamilton.
For a great read about Luke Doucet’s recent move to Hamilton, and more details about his album (produced by Sloan’s Andrew Scott) and about David Collier read the National Post’s article here.
Luke Doucet and life partner, fellow musician and singer-songwriter Melissa McClelland will be playing a show with their new band White Horse at The Hamilton Place Studio on September 30th with Frazey Ford.
Supercrawl 2011 is going to be so damn good. I’m crying inside that I’m going to miss it. Instead of artcrawling, I’ll be heading to beautiful upstate NY for the 4th out of 5 weddings of the season. It will be fun but it might be hard pressed to top the 3 major free festivals that will all be running simultaneously in Hamilton’s downtown core on Saturday, September 10th. We’ve got the Locke Street Festival, Country Music Week (at Copps Coliseum & on top of Jackson Square) and the SUPERCRAWL on James St. north.
The line up for the Supercrawl is just so outstandingly AWESOME! If I could go, these would be some of my top picks to check out…
I would also love to see the hand knitted art installation that will replicate the entire brick facade of The Brain, done by the Beehive Craft Collective. This is going to be so cool!
Oh, and how could I forget to mention a super exhibit called Women’s Work that will be on display at Project Space 126/128 James St. north, opening reception on the Supercrawl night from 7-10pm. It will be an exhibit of fantastic crafty, textileness, which will include a beehive paper dress by artist Hitoko Okata.
Erika DeFreitas, Detail from A Teleplasmic Study with Doillies (A Selection). 2010 - 2011. Digital print
The day before the Supercrawl; Friday September 9th will be Terra Lighfoot‘s CD release party at This Ain’t Hollywood, and James St. north will still be kickin’ with it’s regular monthly art crawl from 7-11pm.
The Supercrawl will take place on Saturday, September 10th from 10am-12 midnight, from York/Wilson and James St. north all the way down to This Ain’t Hollywood.
After parties a plenty at The Brain -199 James St. north (dance party to soul, house, disco boogie) free, 1pm-2am, and after party thrown by Beauty Industries at The Red Mill Theatre -80 James St. north (at Wilson) $10 to get in, 9pm-2am.
On top of a phenomenal line up of class act musical artists both local and otherwise there will be some amazing visual artists and art installations, plus galleries and the ever increasing number of independent and cool shops, will all be open and pumping at full throttle.
Here is a list of the 2011 Supercrawl contingent. For specific times and locations of performances look here.
Music-BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
PALEY & FRANCIS
SAID THE WHALE
BASIA BULAT and the HAMILTON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
PLANTS AND ANIMALS
JACQUES GREENE (dj set)
LIVE HOW YOU LIVE
OLENKA AND THE AUTUMN LOVERS
HAMILTON HIP HOP ALL-STARS
MOTEM & CO.
McMASTER LAPTOP ORCHESTRA
EARTH, WIND & CHOIR
DMC 2011 WORLD DJ CHAMPIONSHIPS: CANADIAN FINALS
WAR CHILD Busking For CHANGE