Odds and Ends – Hamilton’s Art Crawl

Odds and Ends for Monday, July 13, 2015

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist @erskinec
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist @erskinec

I came to art at an age before the birth of the art crawl. So, I remember the dark ages when artists really had to look towards Toronto.

For emerging artists, Hamilton Artist’s Inc., provided the only real opportunity to stage a solo or group show. Of course, your art had to match the current trends in the non-profit scene.

So, the creation of the art scene on James Street North (around 2005) has been a truly remarkable development. I understand there is an excellent documentary made on the birth of the Art Crawl, but after 4 weeks I am still waiting for the arrival of my DVD.

Today, the Hamilton gallery scene is really quite small, and struggling to find enough buyers from a really small pool  of art collectors.

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist @erskinec
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist @erskinec

On Friday, I join a healthy crowd of visitors who walked up and down James Street North, despite the competition from other local events and the Pan-Am games.

I don’t get down to the Art Crawl that often because the kids are usually heading to bed around 8 pm, but today managed to get there and I was struck by two things.

1. With a warm and pleasant evening, why are places like Artist’s Inc., and Centre3 not open at 6 pm versus 7 pm? There is certainly enough people walking around the area to justify their doors being open earlier.

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist @erskinec
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist @erskinec

2. While there are some people selling art and craft items, the rest were certainly not threatening the status of the Quebec City street artists. The side walks seem filled with sellers with only the weakness link to the arts.

Fear for the future of James Street North. Does it become the future bar district or some sort of flea market?

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist @erskinec
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist @erskinec

Maybe what is required is some sort of organized effort to provide quality art that may not be ready for or have access to the gallery scene; something like the maker’s market.

Visiting the art crawl always leaves me dis-spirited.  Am I alone with this uneasy feeling?

Chris Erskine

Urban Landscape Artist

Monday’s Artist Update for April 14, 2014

A weekly review of art related activities by artist Chris Erskine.

This week:

1.)           Will Cuts Impact CBC Hamilton?

2.)           Are We There Yet? – Backpack Journalism

3.)           So, what is this Blog All About?

4.)           Hamilton’s 24 Hour Film Festival Returns


Will Cuts Impact CBC Hamilton?

Commentary – On Thursday, CBC announced 657 job cuts over two years because of a budget shortfall.  I cannot help but wonder if there may be an impact on CBC Hamilton.

The CBC Hamilton is a digital outlet and may represent the future for the entire Network.  Working with limited resources, the station has done a remarkable job at covering significant stories from the community.

You could envision, however, that the unconventional format (digital) and the short history (opened on May 9, 2012) may make the Hamilton operations vulnerable to more established interests within the CBC Network.

I, also, believe that  CBC Hamilton has been weak in its coverage of the Arts and Music scene. This is particularly surprising given its location on James Street North. On my most critical days, I feel that CBC Hamilton is trying to be the next Hamilton Spectator rather than focusing on building its own unique brand within the Hamilton community.

This being said, CBC Hamilton is only two years old and needs to be given more time and resources so that it may develop to its full potential.

So, as this story plays out, I believe everyone must be ready to defend CBC Hamilton, and ensure that our stories continue to be told.


Are We There Yet? Backpack Journalism

Commentary – 10 or 15 years ago, the technology did not exist for an individual to document and broadcast to the world.  Today, with the internet and technology that can fit into a backpack, an individual can create documentaries or provide alternative news reporting.

Locally, we can see this with Joey Coleman and his coverage of Hamilton City Hall.

I recently came across some Youtube videos that may give you a better feel for this new type of journalism.

Bill Gentile is an independent journalist and documentary film-maker and he has some nice videos on backpack journalism.



So, What this Blog All About?

Fat Cats – Starving Dogs is a blog about my experience as an artist.  It is an open journal of my struggles to explore my truth, and express that understanding of the truth through inks, paints, and films.

I use text and film to tell my stories,  about the creative process, to the larger world.  I am not trying to be a reporter on the art scene, or to sell stuff, or to simply re-cycle information from other sources.  instead, I am trying to create original content based on my experiences as an artist.  I use other sources when that information impacts my interests as an artist.

In the war between perfection and getting it out there, I will side with the latter.  Nevertheless, I am striving for the best content possible.  So, this blog is a work in progress and your patience is appreciated.


What Are the Stories?

As an Artist, I am interested in buildings and how these objects express who we are as individuals and as communities.

If you think about the time and resources that go into constructing, outfitting, and maintaining these creations then that must tell us something about who we are.

Like people, buildings have beginnings, middles and ends.  They not only influence the people who live and work there, but the surrounding landscape, as well.

I am particularly interested in historical and heritage buildings because we have the perspective in terms of time and experience to more clearly appreciate them. That being said, I do like contemporary architecture as well.


Who is my audience?

This blog is for people who are interested in the visual arts, architecture, and history.  Most importantly, this blog is about Hamilton.  My family has lived or worked in Hamilton for over 100 years.  Through my art, not only do I explore Hamilton’s history but my own family’s history, as well.


Hamilton’s 24 Hour Film Festival Returns


Hamilton's 24 Hour Film Festival
Hamilton’s 24 Hour Film Festival

After taking a year off, the Hamilton’s 24 Hour Film Festival returns this June.

With only five months of film experience, I and two other friends (Jane and Shani) have decided to throw our hat into the ring with our early registration this past Thursday.

As Team Fat Cats – Starving Dogs, we hope to meet the challenge with creative story telling.

It is my hope that by creating a film, we advance our skills as  film-makers. There is nothing like a goal to focus the mind.

Wish us luck.



Glaciers by Crooked Hill – Seems right after visiting 27 Bold

After seeing the damage at 27 Bold Street, the following music video by Crooked Hill and their song entitled Glaciers seems to express my mood  this morning.  The excellent creative and production value is by Colourblind Productions.

Art of Kyle Reed

Art Review

Kyle Reed
Kyle Reed

The concept of home is an uneasy one and nowhere is that more clear than in the most recent works of Kyle Reed at the De Facto inside the Mulberry Street Coffee House.

While we tend to think of home as everlasting, as a physical place and a social grouping, home only lasts for the briefest of moments.

Our most vivid and powerful memories come from those few short years before we enter adulthood.

Each configuration after childhood is also short in duration: whether it is our first apartment or when we start raising a family, home is constantly changing.

Kyle Reed’s wonderful buildings perched on white outcroppings remind me of homes built on icebergs – solid structures built on temporary foundations.

Maybe home is more of a memory than most of us would like to admit.

Kyle Reed is on display at the Mulberry Street Coffee House until June 10th.

Mulberry Street Coffee House
Mulberry Street Coffee House

Kyle ReedKyle Reed

Mulberry Cafe
Mulberry Cafe