Archives: art

hamilton gems

The Academy of All Things Awesome and This Must Be The Place are very proud to finally present to you Hamilton Gems map illustrated by Jacqui Oakley!






The map features a selection of Hamilton Gems focused in the downtown area with a few destinations outside the core for you to explore. Take note of a little nod to Hamilton legend Jed the Dancing Guy; usually spotted dancing in the streets of downtown Hamilton (in the map he’s dancing just to the left of the letter “H”).

Aren’t they gorgeous! You know you want one hanging on your wall.

This Saturday, November 26th we will be selling them at Stuffed Hamilton from 11am-6pm at Collective Arts Brewery. Parking is free and admission is $5 (free for kids under 12). There’ll be 70+ local vendors, coffee by Vintage Coffee Roasters, and awesome tunes by DJ Donna Love Joy to keep you grooving while you shop.

Then on Sunday, November 27th we will be selling them at Handmade Hamilton from 11am-5pm at the Staircase Theatre. Admission is only $2, which will get you access to 32+ amazing vendors like ceramic artist Krystal Speck, Hitokoo (clothing line), and more Hamilton maps by the Jelly Brothers.

For the Stuffed and Handmade Hamilton show we’re selling the maps at a special reduced price listed below. Maps are available in two sizes and formats.

20×28″ screen prints $75 black & white, $85 colour (printed by hand at Centre 3 for Print and Media Arts)

12×16″ archival giclée prints $45 colour or black & white (printed by Smokestack Studios)

If you can’t make it out to the Stuffed show or Handmade Hamilton, then you can still pick up maps from the lovely folks at Mixed Media (James North), White Elephant (Westdale), Girl on the Wing (King East), Canoe (Locke) and on-line via The Academy of All Things Awesome.

Don’t wait long to buy one, especially if it’s for a gift for Christmas. We’re doing a limited edition print for the holidays and they are already selling fast!

 *Stuffed, Saturday November 26, 11-6, 207 Burlington Street East

*Handmade Hamilton, Sunday November 27, 11-5, 27 Dundurn Street North, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram


getting it done at centre 3

Erika McMeekin of The Academy of All Things Awesome, Jacqui Oakley illustrator of talented magnitude, and myself have combined forces to bring to you a piece of artwork that you will most definitely want to have up on your wall.

After scoping out and compiling a long list of Hamilton gems throughout the spring and summer, Erika and I met with Jacqui to see if she could make an illustrated map of all the gems. We love Jacqui’s style and her body of work, so were confident that whatever she would create would be amazing –and it is!


Once Jacqui had drawn and inked her work she embarked on the process of getting the piece ready for a large scale colour silk screen print. Jacqui had to rework her illustration into four separate colour layers in a complex mind bending process that would’ve broke my head in two (makes my head hurt just thinking about it). From there we made four silk screens that Erika and I would use to make a poster sized silk screened print of Jacqui’s illustrated map.

Enter Centre 3. Guys you have no idea how lucky we are as a city to have this place around. They have a digital lab, classes and workshops (from t-shirt printing to drypoint), gallery space, art education programs, and the print studio (which is what we used for silk screening).

We got a fifty dollar one year membership (which gives all sorts of perks & discounts) and booked some one-on-one studio time with Matt McInnes print maker, artist, and Centre 3 studio tech extraordinaire. Matt was awesome and showed us the ropes, making sure we were confident and well on our way on our silk screening mission.

hamilton-gems-print-studio-acetates hamilton-gems-print-studio-emulsion hamilton-gems-print-studio-washing-screen

With some dedicated studio time we will be working our bods, blood, sweat and tears into printing these bad boys up for you.


Early next week I’ll give you a look at the whole finished piece with details on where you can snag one for yourself or for a gift for someone else (after all, the holiday and Christmas season is upon us). Until then, if you wanna find us we’ll be a the Print Studio printing away.


*Centre 3, 173 James Street North, 905.524.5084, Twitter, Insta, Facebook



all the festivals

In the next week there are so many great festivals happening in and around the city. I want to go to all of them.

Here are a few of the must see and do’s if you’re sticking around Hamilton.


Hamilton World Music Festival

In its third year and back by popular demand the Hamilton World Music Festival is here this weekend!




Boasting past musical guests like Polaris Prize and Juno Award winner Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, this year’s line-up features an excellent roster of International artists like Sérgio Pererê (from Brazil), and Zal Sissokho (from Senegal). Hamilton favourites like Mother Tareka (9-piece hip-hop funk band), Neeraj Prem (sitar), the Riddim Riders (reggae band), Bonnie Hamilton, and The Snow Beach Players (featuring #HamOnt mashup of local live hip-hop bands Canadian Winter, Haolin Munk & Kojo ‘Easy’ Damptey Band).

A song by Alysha Brilla, who’s song 2 Shots, I first heard on CBC Radio a while back. The chorus would get stuck in my head for days. She’s performing Saturday 8:30-9:30pm.

*Hamilton World Music Festival, July 15-17, Admission is Free, Gage Park, @matapaorg, Facebook


Strangewaves Music Festival

Strangewaves is a three-day festival in its second year for music, art, and film lovers alike.

The festival this year is at the Paris Fairgrounds, where you can camp all weekend and check out another amazing line-up of Hamilton musical musical outfits like: Simply Saucer (Proto Punk ), Thoughts on Air (soulscape), Goatfooted (dank ambience back from the grave), Zac Shaw (sax king), plus all sorts of indie acts hailing from LA to NYC, PLUS one of my ultimate faves Julie Doiron (OMG!), and DJ Rasta Princess (Montreal -reggae, reggae, reggae) -eeeep! Sounds like it’s going to be a fun little festival. AND, surprise guest yet to be announced for Saturday night -who could it be!?

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 1.06.44 PM

Tickets are available here, or at The Brain (199 James Street North, Hamilton).

*Strangewaves Music Festival, July 15-17, Paris Fairgrounds, @strangewavesfes, Facebook


Fringe Festival

The Hamilton Fringe Festival is celebrating its 13th year (#turning13)!

This year there are more than 48 theatre companies bringing to Hamilton a variety of comedy, drama, magic, dance, and family friendly entertainment in more than 300 performances over 11 days.

The amount of theatre that will be at our finger-tips during the next week is daunting (yet also awesome!).

If I had to pick just a handful of plays to see, these would be them:


El Diablo of the Cards (comedy): Be SURPRISED in the most HILARIOUS way! “El Diablo of the Cards” comes all the way from Brazil to bring you an UNFORGETTABLE night! Take your seat and get ready to laugh! Ewerton Martins will astound with his unbelievable improvised card magic. Really unreal, provocatively absurd, this delightful idiot will introduce you to the madness of card’s magic.



All KIDding Aside (comedy): Time is running out, a life altering decision teeters before you…and you’re on the fence! Sometimes the biggest fears can be the “little ones”




Key-Promo-Image-KairosThe Bathtub Girls (drama, physical theatre): The Bathtub Girls is an original play based on the first known case of sibling matricide in Canada, occurring in 2003, Mississauga, ON. The work has strong roots in contact improvisation and examines the desire for a sense of community and identity, and the actions taken for their acquisition.




Awoken (drama, sci fi): Meet Todd. Todd can’t sleep. But Todd is dreaming. Neither awake nor asleep, Todd must journey through his own corrupted subconscious – idle fantasies and suppressed memories – and discover his purpose, before choosing to wake up…or sleep forever. Inspired by a true story. All lighting controlled by the sole actor on stage.



Devil-in-the-DetailsDevil in the Details (comedy): Laura, after a freak photocopier accident, finds herself dead and the executive assistant to Satan himself. As she navigates her new boss and the inner workings of the seven circles, she finds that not everything is as it seems. Hell is losing souls, influence and power but no one knows why… Welcome to Hell.



*Hamilton Fringe Festival, July 14-24, @HamOntFringe, Facebook, #HamFringe


I will be updating my Facebook page regularly with various events going on in the city. Take a look at my event page for some great things coming up like Dusk Dances (Bayfront Park), Life of a Craphead: Bugs/ Zak Tatham: Doorcuts (summer film screening series at Hamilton Artist’s Inc.), and A Night in White (at Whitehern hosted by the Other Bird Chef Matt Kershaw) just to name a few. 

franco fest

Festival season is quickly approaching. If you are looking to get a little sample of some summer festival happenings in Hamilton this weekend, then you should check out FrancoFest.

FrancoFest is a free three day open-air festival at Gage Park. It is a family-friendly festival that celebrates the diversity of francophone culture through live music, dance, and visual art.

For the kids there’s: circus workshops, art exhibitions, painting, drumming, reptile demonstrations, maquillage, and roaming artists.

Franco Fest

Some of the performances this year include: Karim Ouellet and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hamilton Aerial Group, Lua Shayenne & Co and many more.

FrancoFest has been around in Hamilton for 35 years but it is still pretty low-key (in a good way). You won’t be pushing a stroller through throngs of dusty festival crowds or staking out seats with your lawn chairs to catch the performances. It’s a festival that you can enjoy at a leisurely pace; pack a blanket and some shade, sample some eats from the food trucks and take a wander through the vendors (all beautifully curated).

Mental Floss Sideshow Franco Fest Franco Fest Hamilton Aerial Group Franco Fest2

There’s something about arts, and culture that the French just do better.

This was a festival that I attended last year that I really enjoyed. The vibe was just right. With little to no expectations of what the festival entailed; we grabbed some food from the food trucks, listened to some gorgeous music, wandered around the kid’s art painting station, and got a feel for just how cool francophone culture really is. 

FrancoFest is free and takes places June 24, 25 and 26. Parking on-site is $10.

*FrancoFest, Facebook, Twitter, #FrancoFest


lester coloma

I’ve been collecting pictures over the years of Lester Coloma’s work on the streets of Hamilton. I thought I would dig some of these photos up before they got entirely lost in the abyss of my ever-growing Hamilton photo collection.

I can’t remember which one was first anymore –the Super Crawl Elephant or the Tortoise & the Hare?

I’m pretty sure that the elephant was Coloma’s second piece.

The day I took this picture, may have been the day it was completed and installed on Mixed Media‘s wall (Cannon Street side). I even have a shot of “Mural by Lester Coloma” hand written in chalk on the wall (before the artist signed his name on the cross bar of the elephant’s bike).

Lester Coloma Supercrawl Elephant

Lester Coloma

This one of the Tortoise & the Hare on the old Tivoli Theatre has since been getting graffitied over. Here it is looking as fresh as ever back in 2014. Lester Coloma Tortoise and the Hare

Out front of Leon Furs (a building which I adore) was the most temporary Coloma mural I saw. It was there for just a short time as Store got set up to open on James Street. Lester Coloma’s Pan is gone but now you can buy your pottery and used books there.

Lester Coloma pan

In late summer and fall of last year I noticed the slow evolution of a mural on a dentist’s office on Jackson Street and Walnut starting to emerge. When I saw the bear go up (mid-mural completion) I knew that it was a Coloma. Now it’s nearly complete (I think) and two large sides of the building are entirely covered in a massive mural.

Thinking of switching dentists? I just might; based strictly on the assumption that a dentist that pays Lester Coloma to do a full-building-mural, must be an awesome one. Lester Coloma Bear Mural


In the future I think our city will see more Coloma murals and even a new partnership with Lester’s brother Norman. Check out their site here.



the gifted

The Gifted is King Street East’s latest addition to its ever growing hip retail scene.

It is essentially a super cute novelty gift shop; not in the It Store kind of novelty of way, but in an art and design Magic Pony (except way more affordable and accessible) kind of way.

I took my first visit to The Gifted prompted by the fact that they carry a KEYTAG by Various Projects that literally had my name written all over it. Well… not exactly my name (as I have only ever known a lifetime’s worth of disappointment for never having been able to find pencils, paper, toothbrushes, and bath towels with my name monogrammed on them) but having This Must Be The Place etched onto an ironic KEYTAG was plenty good enough for me.

The Gifted KeyTags by Various Projects

The Gifted carries cool art and design prints, books, magazines, artwork, toys, plush animals, socks, Hamilton neighbourhood totes and lots and lots of unique gift items pretty much perfect for the upcoming shop local Christmas and holiday gift buying season.The Gifted Hamilton totes The Gifted Tofu toys

You can even by these cute little alpacas in GIANT 18″ tall format -so freaking adorable! The Gifted Hamilton Alpacas

They had a great selection of cute and punny cards. Especially love the Cher one.

The Gifted cards

In addition to the X-File card featured above you can also get more X-file heartthrob paraphernalia such as this print from And Smile Studio.

The Gifted XFiles

The Gifted Hamilton Novelty store

So if you’ve got somewhere to go with someone that requires a little unique je ne sais quoi, make sure you stop by The Gifted to say “hey” and to pick up a little something special for a friend or to just treat yo’self.

*The Gifted, 249 King Street East, 289.389.8147, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

100 years of AGH

A few weeks ago we celebrated the Art Gallery of Hamilton‘s one hundred years of existence at a free BBQ picnic in their sculpture garden.

The BBQ was followed by a slew of kid and family friendly activities.

AGH tshirt printing

AGH printing stamps

The kids were loving this; printing old car and machine parts onto T-shirts!

AGH inking up

AGH tshirt print

Although Omi was a little young for the art activities and the guided tour of the gallery that didn’t stop us from doing our own self directed toddler-mini-tour.


Phantom Hunter William Blair Bruce

William Blair Bruce -The Phantom Hunter 1888

While on our wanderings, I was glad to have gotten a peek at the William Blair Bruce exhibit. Bruce was a born and raised Hamiltonian, who established himself primarily as Canadian impressionist painter, recognized and celebrated throughout Paris, North America and Europe.

I later learned that following Bruce’s death his collection was donated to the city of Hamilton, which at the time did not have a municipal gallery. The collection would in turn play a critical role in the foundation and establishment of the Art Gallery of Hamilton. It’s possible that without Bruce’s collection the AGH may have never materialized. My guess is it’s no coincidence that the Bruce exhibit coincided with the celebration of the AGH’s centennial.

The Bruce exhibit runs at the AGH until October 5th. It’s the largest Bruce exhibit to be shown with 100 works; some of which have never been publicly exhibited. Definitely a must-see! (FYI first Friday of each month admission is free!!)

I’m so thankful that Hamilton has the AGH. Happy one hundred years!

*Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King Street West, 905.527.6610, @theAGH


the last leg

The last leg of our Euro travels was definitely the most challenging. In a one week period we would travel from Sussex to London, then by train to Zurich via Paris and then another train on to Frankfurt before getting on a nine hour flight back home. Mixed into all this was some serious teething, learning to walk, stroller rejection and a family epidemic of sickness.

Through it all we still managed to get in some art viewing at the Tate Modern as well as at the Museum of Modern Art in Zurich. We just did a lot of carrying Omi in our arms and taking long breaks by fountains, sandboxes, open squares and parks.

Dan Flavin at the Tate Modern in London

Omi and I in front of Cy Twombly's painting

A friend of mine that lives in Zurich lent us her flat for the four nights we were there. She has a beautiful loft that had some of the most amazing windows from which you could see the Swiss mountains, Zurich rooftops and the forest. The windows could swivel to be open at some crazy angels, so at night time you could have views of the moon and stars and catch some wonderful breezes. Nights in the apartment were a relief from the heat of the day since during our stay there was a European wide heatwave. The fifth floor flat of my friend’s would get upwards to 35 degrees!

during one of Omi's early morning wake ups I spotted the moon over the mountains

Zurich proved to be a rather expensive city. But one thing that I did love about it is that it is situated perfectly on an extremely beautiful and clean lake. Just a short tram ride away we got down to the lake on our first day and spent the entire afternoon and evening taking dips in the various swimming areas, drinking beers and eating some great food.

By this part of our journey we’d long given up hope of sitting in coffee shops or restaurants with Omi. He just wanted to walk around and get into all sorts of mischief. I popped into an exquisite bakery called Péclard and picked up the most delicious savoury ham and cheese croissant a sweet treat and some coffees that we ate while taking turns entertaining Omi in a nearby square.

All things said and done, despite all its challenges, I am so happy that we did it!

After a couple weeks now of being in Hamilton again I finally feel like we’re back in the swing of things. I still have a few more weeks to enjoy what’s left of the summer before my maternity leave ends and I’m back to work.

the road sign project

In an urban setting you can’t really walk very far without seeing some type of sign that tells you what to do, what not to do, which direction to go etc. That’s why at first it was hard to notice that these signs were more than just your typical everyday sign. They seemingly blended right into their surroundings. That’s the beauty of this street art project, put on by Hamilton’s Centre [3], you really need to pay attention to find these cool little installations.

For example, this Duck sign below by artist Hitoko Okada. I probably walked by this a few times, a little befuddled and confused, before realizing it was an art piece. But once I saw this sign, I started noticing a lot of other intriguing signs by other artists all over the downtown core.

Duck, by Hitoko Okada

untitled, by Jean-Denis Boudreau

Detour, by Carole Deveau

The Road Sign Project is an outdoor art project presented by Centre3, Hamilton, ON, in partnership with Atelier Imago in Moncton, NB. Signs by sixteen artists, posted in various Hamilton locations (and in Centre3′s storefront gallery), offer directions on matters such as contemporary art, science, psychology, politics, romance, and the pathos of post-industrial urban existence. Viewers are invited to join the artists for a guided tour (May 11) and picnic, participate in a t-shirt contest, and contribute observations on the signs and the signified for an upcoming publication.

The Road Sign Project will run until October 19th. For more information about the project and location of artist’s signs click here.

the hammer

There’s something quite humorous about wielding a hammer in “The Hammer”.

I recently renewed my annual membership at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and couldn’t help but notice this great installation by Hamilton artist Simon Frank.

The hammer, with an embossed pine tree, is hung on the large wall of the front entrance of the AGH.  You can swing it as you like into the drywall.  The overall effect is the creation of a forest of hammered out pine trees, or as the title of the work states View (from the escarpment). I love it!


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