New Public Art for Hamilton

Oct 8th, 2019 – I am pleased to say that I achieved success with Hamilton’s first utility public art project. The new art is installed outside the Dr. J.E. Davey Elementary School at the corner of Ferguson Avenue North and Wilson Street.  The located under a tree and on a nice grassy plot of land, the piece has high visuability from all directions.

Hamilton Utility Box Art
New public art by artist Chris Erskine is installed outside Dr. J.E. Davey Elemetary School in Hamilton, Ontario.

The mural depicts homes from the surroundings area.  The wood and brick 19th century homes are a common sight in the downtown core of Hamilton.  The ones shown on mural are from Elgin Street where my grandparents lived in the 1940s and 1950s.

Hamilton Public Art
The bold and colorful piece is visible from all directions.

My family came to Canada in the late 19th century and worked in many of the major manufacturing companies that operated in Hamilton.  Unlike today, cars either didn’t exist or were too expensive to own.  Instead, everyone walked to work or school.

Located under a tree and on a grassy plot of land.
The new work stresses the changing nature of work and school.

The two large buildings shown on the mural are the old 1920s Firestone Plant that was located off Burlington Street and the 1858 Central Public School located on Hunter Street in Hamilton.  When my great grandparents arrived in Hamiltons, learning from experience was the key to getting a good job.  By the 1950s, getting a good education had become key to finding a job.  The mural marks this transition from work to school over the past 100 years.

I had the good fortunate to be interviewed by CHCH, the local television station in Hamilton, for the evening news.  Below is the link to this news piece.


New art initiative by the city of Hamilton adds a splash of colour to downtown



Hamilton’s Public Art Project

Chris Erskine’s submission has been accepted by Hamilton’s Public Art Department for installation.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who voted and provided feedback on Hamilton’s first ever Traffic Signal Box Wrap (Public Art Project).

Hamilton’s Public Art Department received 137 submissions; with 38 proposals being put forward to the Public for voting and comment.  Based on 1,745 votes, I was ranked 27th out of 38, with 32 proposals being accepted for installation.

My artist statement was as follows:

My family came to Hamilton in the 19th century as blacksmiths.  They arrived at a time when experience mattered more than formal education.  As the local economy grew and developed, education started to play a larger role in the lives of the average person.  Central Public School, established in 1853, represented the beginning of this transformation.  The houses depicted in this image are from Mary Street in the downtown core and where my grandparents lived in the 1940s.  School or work was never more than walking distance and often the factory would be visible in the distance.

Once again, thank you to everyone who voted and spread the word among their friends.



Made the Short List


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.



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



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.



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.


SWARM 2018

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


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