Made the Short List

submission01r

Made the short list for Hamilton’s first ever Utility Box art project!

According to the City’s Public Art Department, “a volunteer citizen jury has reviewed 137 artists’ submissions and shortlisted 38 based on their response to the project goal and themes, appropriateness for Downtown Hamilton, artistic excellence, technical feasibility and ability to deter graffiti.”

The second round of the selection process is public feedback.  As of July 26st, 2019, 1508 people have provided feedback on the 38 artists.  At the moment, my total score is 135 points which places me at 28 out of 38. The jury will accept 32 or fewer artists.

I would like to thank everyone who has voted for me.  The public consultation ends Aug 5th, 2019, so there is still time to vote.

 

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Preparing for Mural Season

Fat Cat Starving Dog Studio
Building stretchers and putting on canvases

The Gym Mural Project did not work out.  The location was much more distant than I originally believed.  It would have taken forever to get there during rush hour.

The proposal was also a challenge because I had not settled on a unique look for my murals.  I rather hold back and develop this look then put something out that would not stand the test of time. On the other hand, getting some commissions would help with the resume and getting work.

CJ Erskine

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Happy Holidays for 2018

Xmas Card - 2018

I hope everyone is having a great time off for the holidays.  At the moment, I am busy with a mural proposal for a gym.

Just before the holiday break, I heard about a call for proposals for a mural wall in a gym that is associated with a college.  It sounded like an interesting challenge, but it had a relatively tight deadline.

While the Gym is only asking for a verbal description of the proposal, you need to think through what would address their expectations and how that would actually look. A further complication is the Gym is asking examples of your past work.  In my case, I have only done a couple of practice murals. As a result, I decided to develop a digital sketch that works up my proposal to a fairly high. That, and few examples of my past work, will hopefully give them confidence in my abilities..

Some of you may have received my Christmas Card (shown above).  This digital creation was printed out on glossy card stock by the UPS Store.  However, I wanted to create a piece that would have also worked as a mural.

So, that is where things are at.  Again, best wishes for the holiday season and see everyone in 2019.

Cheers

o0o

Art Crawl – Friday!

This Friday (Dec 14th) is Art Crawl on James Street North in Hamilton.

It is always a great evening to visit all the galleries and shops in Hamilton’s arts community.  The SWARM show at Hamilton Artist Inc continues until January 12th. The Dec 1st opening was great and this year there are almost 60 artists on display. Of there is my amazing painting entitled, “Urban Code” in the show, but if it does not match your tastes, then there is lots of other works to look at.

I highly recommend visiting David Brace’s gallery, B Contemporary at 226 James Street North. If you like abstract art, David’s gallery is the place for you.  David is not big on social media, so the only way to find out what is showing is by visiting.

Another really interesting gallery is You Me Gallery at 330 James Street North, which is at the far end of the street. Bryce Kanbara is one of the founding artists of Hamilton Artist Inc back in the mid-1970s.  Again, if you want to find out who is showing you gotta visit the gallery. It is hard to predict what kind of art you will see at You Me, but the artists on display are always the ones with ability and insight.

Of course, James North is now full of great restaurants and after visiting several of the galleries, dinner and drinks will really warm you up.

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SWARM 2018

Opening Reception Saturday, Dec 1st, 2018  from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm

#ArtSWARM2018

SWARM 2018 featuring the leading visual artists from Hamilton and surrounding region.  This is a great opportunity to find a unique and rewarding gift for your special someones or for yorself.  If you are new to art collecting, this is an excellent opportunity to discover something that is affortable and speaks to who you are.  Place a painting in a room, office, or lobby and you have instantly created a focal point that will add depth and character.

My piece for the SWARM is entitled Urban Code and it is a 18×18 acrylic on canvas painting created this year.

If you attend the show, please share your photos by using the hashtag: #ArtSWARM2018

SWARM runs from Dec 1st, 2018 to January 12th, 2019.

Hamilton Artist Inc
155 James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario

Gallery Hours:

Wed to Sat 12:00 to 5:00 pm
Friday 12:00 to 6:00 pm

The Arrival of the 5D Mark II

Canon 5D Mark II

As a painter, I find it crazy that I am so dependent on the camera.  I use the camera to document my work, to create quality images to submit to gallery shows, to display my work on the website, to create short digital films explaining my art practice and so on.

So, when my camera died a few weeks ago, I knew I had to get a replacement fast.

Cost was a significant issue, particularly because I had been planning to upgrade my camera for some time.  After about 10 years, I was really feeling the limitations of a crop sensor. Crop sensors distorts the field of view that the len produces.  Crop sensors are also less sensitive in low light conditions. There is a lot more technical stuff that camera nerds can say about this, but for me these were the two critical issues. So, I knew that my next camera had to be a full frame (i.e., full sensor) camera, but these cameras are very expensive.  It is not unreasonable to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 for decent model.

After scanning several YouTube videos on different Canon models, I quickly settled on two cameras: an used 5D Mark II for $800 or a new 6D for $1300.

While I prefer new, I also realized that $1300 was just the starting point.  I would also need to purchase a new kind of battery, a new kind of battery charger, and a new kind of memory card.  Together, these accessories would add another $400-$600 to get the camera operational.

When I arrived at Henry’s, I discovered that the used the used camera came with two batteries and a re-charger, thus adding hundred of dollars value to the camera. So, the decision became easy and I purchased the 5D Mark II.

I had talked to the store several times and they said that used cameras were all in good repair.  Their used camera come with ratings systems and I got a 7 which is on the low end. According to the store, these means the camera has marks on it, but is still good to operate.  However, the guy in the store looked gravely at me and said that the camera shutter count (158,000) was beyond the lifespan for this camera (150,000).

Now, I never really trust people that make a case for extended warranties, but I had just saved several hundred dollars with the inclusion of the batteries and recharger.  On the other hand, I was buying a 10 year old camera. So, I opted to spend the $150 for the 3 year warranty. This was still cheaper than buying a new Canon 6D camera.

Once I got home, I immediately started researching shutter life spans and discovered that the guy was right, shutters are the things that will most likely fail on a camera and that 150,000 shutter count is the promised life span for a 5D mark II.  However, many cameras will last until 200,000 with a few reaching 300,000. So, I am a light user and 40,000 photos will take some time to reach. In the meantime, I am covered for any shutter repairs for the next 3 years.

Hopefully, I will get another 10 years out of this camera.

o0o

3 Reasons Why Cities Should Promote Street Art

Street art has been sweeping the world with festivals in almost every major cities, but why?

Wall murals is another name for street art and is usually done in acrylics or spray paint.

While murals may incorporate lettering like Graffiti writing, it is more geared to images that rooted realism. The popularity of this type of art is based on 3 essential values:

  1. Beauty. Beautification of our urban environments. Whether the piece is small or large, the beauty of these wall murals can be outstanding.  Like all art, the beauty of the work can be sole justification for its existence.
  2. Place. Creating an unique place in our often bland urban environments.  While many architects strive to create interesting and unique buildings, there are still many other buildings that have little to say about themselves.  Adding a mural to a blank wall makes an unremarkable place into a very remarkable place. Variety and diversity creates interest and attraction to a particular location.
  3. Pause. By drawing attention to a particular spot, you are encouraging people to pause and take notice; creating the opportunity to engage with the local geography of the place..  If the work is really successful, then people may Instagram photos of the wall and share them with friends, thereby making the place famous. In some cities like London (UK), groups have organized tours of the more important streets with outstanding murals.

As an artist, I feel strongly that street art should play a major role in our cities.  If handled properly, art councils and artist cooperatives can create a rich range of opportunities for community artists that will brighten our urban street-scapes.

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