James Street North Art Crawl
It was the last summer Art Crawl until Supercrawl and the last one for the summer. Had to make it a good one!
First up, I wanted to check out the skateboard art show at Homegrown Hamilton. The show happens every year and is curated by Paul Antico. One of the artists involved, Cheyenne Federiconi, a.k.a. Sugarbones, let me know about it. Colourful skateboards designed in all different styles lined Homegrown’s brick walls. It was easy to spot Cheyenne’s work with its pin-up style girl and candy colours.
From there, it was a short jaunt to the Lister Block to take a peek at the newly opened Lister Arts. The gallery’s grand opening was set for the end of August and was filled with art on display. The gallery is owned and curated by Valerie Cousens and Brandon Coulter. Despite it being a small space, they make great use of it and many different artists have their work displayed from floor to ceiling. The art featured includes everything from paintings, photography, textiles, jewellery, and clothing.
Valerie and Brandon both display their art as well. I encountered Valerie last year as the owner and designer of Green Dress Designs. She is also a visual artist. Brandon Coulter is a photographer and owner of Coulter Media Group. Having been active in Hamilton’s arts scene for years, the two are excited to help promote other artists and further contribute to the local arts community.
Next on the itinerary was De Facto at Mulberry Coffeehouse to tour Jamie Lawson‘s exhibit “Nova.” There were balloons up in Mulberry, which I thought was just for some festive Art Crawl flair. As it turns out, it was Mulberry’s third anniversary. I can’t imagine James North without the coffee shop. Cheers, friends!
I met Jamie as one half of Poly Studio when he and co-founder Marlon Lulgjuraj sponsored and attended WordCamp Hamilton. I learned that Jamie and his wife, artist Jacqui Oakley, both contributed to the mural outside Dr. Disc at last year’s Supercrawl. Still one of my favourite spots! Jamie and Jacqui also just participated in a mural design in New York City.
De Facto was a prime spot to display “Nova.” According to its official description, the collection of paintings and drawings “assembled around the themes of light, transformation and revival [and] illustrate an exploration of rational and emotional processes associated with periods of change, both willful and accidental.” The colours and shapes are bold and bright – stunning to look at. My very favourite was the huge colourful canvas that read “This Too Shall Pass.” What an amazing reminder that would be to look at every day.
Every Art Crawl feels kind of like stumbling down the rabbit hole – you never know what you’ll find. New vintage pop-up shop Dizzy Alice is ready to add a little whismy to your life. In absolute perfect timing, right as I tracked them down outside H. Williams Jewellery, a woman from a nearby shop came by and scattered flower petals along the sidewalk. I half-expected a white rabbit to scurry by with a ticking watch.
Co-owners Alicia and Vanessa may be two of the happiest girls I’ve met. They each have a bubbly, enthusiastic energy, and of course, fabulous style. They liked my romper and tights combo – quite the compliment, coming from them!
It’s always fun to finally meet people who you have been interacting with online (they’re all over the Twitter scene!). As we chatted about what an exciting time it is for the city, Vanessa excitedly exclaimed, “I love Hamilton!” and we both burst out laughing, realizing who she was talking to. They post on their website where they will be popping up next (catch them at Locke Street Festival on September 7th).
I enjoyed pouring over their treasures – along with clothing, they have all kinds of odds and ends. It was quite breezy out and they had to keep an eye on those teacups every time the wind picked up. I learned that a lot of their collection came from Alicia’s aunt, who kept everything, and eventually had a clear-out. Alicia noted she couldn’t resist keeping a couple of pieces for herself!
Dizzy Alice’s small pieces of jewellery are creatively attached to old photos from old movies and television. Picking up a pair of earrings that are clipped to a black and white photo of Judy Garland or Charlie Chaplin just makes it even better. They also have a clever system for marking their prices, having little symbols represent the cost. In case you purchase something as a gift, you won’t have to worry about removing the pesky price tag.
After my trip to Wonderland, I continued to wander the street before it was time to Raise the Roof at Dr. Disc. As co-booker and co-promoter of these shows, I was particularly excited for the lineup Mark Furukawa and I cooked up for this one – Still Life, Beard, Jessy Lanza, and New Hands.
Still Life kicked things off with a bang. Beard were next to take the stage with their guitar and drums combo. I hadn’t seen Nigel and Kevin perform in a while and knew their dirty-sleazy-slide-blues-gumbo would rock the roof. Check out a clip I filmed from their set.
Much-buzzed-about electronic artist Jessy Lanza was up next. Her debut album Pull My Hair Back is set for release September 10th on U.K. label Hyperdub. The sun had set by the time she took the stage and the crowd below were eager to hear the mysterious, elusive artist. I was excited to catch her live again and I became an even bigger fan by the end. It was also lovely to finally meet Jessy. Check out a clip from her set.
My friends New Hands closed out the night and it was bittersweet because this was their last performance for a full year. Keyboardist and composer Ben Muñoz is about to embark on his journey to England to finish his last year of school abroad, and singer Spence Newell left the following day for France, where he will be working for the next few months.
I have to note what an amazing show they played the night before at The Casbah where they played their whole debut album, Leave With The Night, as well a fun cover of Daft Punk’s “One More Time.” The album is on the way, and at least we will have that to tide us over during their absence. I also want to throw it out there that I would like to see the other three members, Pat O’Brien and Evan and Gordy Bond, to form a punk band in the interim. Think about it, guys!
Next up for James North is Supercrawl – see you then!