It's rare in the art business that you meet people who like your work enough to take a chance on you. Rarer still is to meet people that share your enthusiasm for building things TOGETHER!
The idea of building together is something that is very important to me. I grew up in the theatre world, where there was always a "we're all in this together" attitude! Everyone was working towards the same goal, and was mostly respectful of each other's part in it!
In the art world, it is often a bit dog eat dog. Your peers are often your competition. Galleries and retailers are often out to exploit your work or care very little about helping artists build and grow. It has always been the most frustrating part of the business for me!
I am fortunate that the galleries and retailers that I am represented by NOW have great enthusiasm for my work. I work WITH them, and have a relationship built on MUTUAL RESPECT and honesty.
I know that the people I work with will treat me well, because I will always treat them well. They will promote me, as much as I promote THEM! More than just honesty and respect, I now only work with people who are NICE!
Right Tay-tay??? WHY? The thing is, there are loads of people out there who are just out for themselves, and good for them, I guess. But I can't be involved in their biz-ness. I have been jerked around by a LOT of people in my professional career, which is too bad....but hd also taught me to trust my instincts and seek out people who are good at what they do, and ALSO good people.
Now why am I going on about this?
Because I was in Hamilton for the SUPERCRAWL as a guest of The Hamilton Store. During the day I got to spend a fair amount of time talking to Donna (the owner)....who is a complete delight! (and Mark who works at the store, and is also delightful!!) And we had a talk about the kind of relationships Donna has with her artists and vendors. It is remarkable. I count myself lucky that I get to be there!
As you know from my MANY MANY blog posts, The Hamilton Store (and Donna) are FANTASTIC! The store has so much MORE than just GREAT Hamilton gifts. There is a HUGE section of local edibles that even TORONTO people would fall in love with!Honestly such a nicely curated store!
NEXT TIME YOU ARE IN HAMILTON....YOU MUST MUST MUST go in!
And please say hello from Rob!
Also this past weekend I was talking a lot about WHY I was in Hamilton....considering I am not a Hamiltonian. I kept explaining that although I LOVE my own city, I also love Hamilton. They have been very nice to me, and the clients I have met appreciate my work! I think they also appreciate that I am not one of those jerky Toronto people...who want to change them, or put them down. I like Hamilton for it's faults and it's challenges, as much as for it's renewal and it's can do spirit!!! My friend Cindy Scaife and I even got a mention in the Hamilton Spectator:
THAT is what it is about!
I think if there was just a little bit more of that in the world...we would ALL be better off!
Thank you again Hamiltonians for your support this last weekend, and I look forward to coming again! And thanks to Donna and Mark and the rest of the staff at thehamiltonstore.caThe Hamilton Store for being so FREAKING FANTASTIC to work with!
Last year, I was a part of Hamilton's James Street Supercrawl.
Truthfully....it was the straw that broke the Croxford's back.
It was hot...then rainy...it had LONNNNNG hours and the installation I was beside nearly made me go POSTAL.
READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE:
SO.....after a terrible 2016 of rain and sweat I decided to trim BACK my show schedule for 2017.
FAST FORWARD TO NOW.....I am doing ONE DAY at The Supercrawl as a guest of (thehamiltonstore.ca) The Hamilton Store!!!
So here are the details.....
SUPER SATURDAY IN THE COURTYARD
SEPTEMBER 9TH from 11am-11:30pm
The Hamilton Store
165 James Street North, Hamilton ON.
(North of Cannon / West side)
I will have all my Hamilton Merch and art - as well as a selection of my other works! I have THIS BRAND NEW piece at the show too:
As you can see I chose 6 signs that I LOVE from Hamilton:
1. The Bowlero Lanes Bowling Alley
2. The Tivoli Theatre
3. Hutch's on the Beach
4. The City Motor Hotel and Restaurant
5. Hendry's Shoes
6. The Millionaires Drive-Inn
A few of these are just HISTORY now....but there are a couple that you can still see around Hamilton!
Why call this one "Electric City"? Well that was a Hamilton nickname at one point....lemme share WIKIwhy:
The Dominion Power and Transmission Company in 1896 brought hydroelectric power to Hamilton from their plant at DeCew Falls. The title of a 1906 promotional booklet on the city proudly proclaimed that Hamilton was "The Electric City." New industries, such as the forerunners of the Steel Co. of Canada (Stelco) and Canadian Westinghouse, were attracted here by the cheaper, more efficient power.
By 1938, with a population nearing 155,000 inhabitants and home to 500 + manufacturing plants, (centre of Canadian Steel and Electronic activities), the city's promotional brochures were boasting that Hamilton was home to more than fifty flourishing branches of United States and British industries, with invested capital approximating $150,000,000. They were also advertising that "Hamilton was home to the cheapest hydro power in the entire world."
So that is why I chose to work with that theme....and also because I had already made a piece about the INDUSTRY of Hamilton...
So come out on Saturday the 9th....I'd love to see you there!
I am busy gearing up for the summer exhibition season, and still waiting on what seems like 100 gosh darn juried proposals and entries. BUT hopefully it all will become clear in the next month.
STAY TUNED FOR DEETS!
In the meantime, gentle reader, I want to talk to you today about commissions. Yes, commissions. Because my art is so specific, I sometimes meet a client who loves my thang (sorry - I will try not to use that word again!) but wants me to create something more personal for them!
Truthfully, I find commissions a bit more stressful, as I am inherently a people pleaser! BUT COMMISSIONS CAN BE SUPER REWARDING TOO. It is often the opportunity to translate someone else's vision into my own. It kinda reminds me of painting for the theatre!
This commission was SUPER.....it was for The Cotton Factory. Here is how they describe themselves:
"In the heart of lower Hamilton, this formal industrial building from 1900 is a prime example of adaptive reuse. It has been transformed from a cotton mill into a creative industries complex, with space for workshops, galleries, office space for creative professionals, and studios for artists."
Honestly, it is a STUNNING complex, that is going to help reshape that area of Hamilton! I LOVE IT!
OKAY....let's see how this commish shaped up....
The first step is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS the research and inspiration. The gallery below has some of my inspirations and some of my research photos...
So with all that in my head, I do a bunch of rough sketches to try to translate and distill the ideas.....
I then send this rough idea to the client and get their opinions....before I begin to refine the drawing!
....once I have a final drawing that is approved by the client, I translate it to the painting surface...I forgot to take a photo at this stage, but I did take the photo BELOW just after....
...I then begin to block in areas....normally I work up ALL the areas at once....but as I mentioned, I wanted this to be PERFECT - so I worked up each area separately! (Like a crazy TYPE A, neurotic artist-type!)
It takes a while to get it right, as you can see above, at first I painted the lettering in grey.....but that ended up changing, as the painting began to reveal itself to me!
....working up The Cotton Factory Building....
...more work on the shadows and such.....
...as you can see....I changed a few of the architectural details of the building that bring it back in time a bit, by making the windows and doors more in line with the 1900's version of the building!
THAT is something you can do with a painting....
Here....a LOT is done.....I changed the Hamilton lettering to green, but was finding the whole thing a bit HEAVY and ill proportioned....I also thought the black border too demanding for the piece!
...I subtracted the bricks and put in more lightness....I fixed the exterior border....but NOW THERE ARE AREAS THAT ARE TOO LIGHT! I KNOW!!! It's all a bit Goldilocks-like! I did fine tunes the banner at the top - THAT is working now!!
...By putting in a traditional Victorian wallpaper pattern, I have balanced the colours a bit better....I have also added a small more industrial border at the top.....the next step involves a series of white washes and colour glazes to give the painting a sense of age. It's the part that makes my work more 'believable' as an old poster!
HERE IS THE FINAL PROJECT:
I was thrilled with the final look.
Once I get to that point it is safe to show the client.
If at that point, the client has any concerns, I can address them.
It doesn't often happen...let's face it, I am usually my own WORST critic! It helps though when you are crystal clear about how the piece will take shape! Generally, if you like what it is that I do, you will be happy with the result!!
So there it is! My latest commission. If you are interested in doing a commission with me, I would be thrilled to chat with you about it!
You can just email me!!
ALSO.....look for prints and postcards of this fantastic piece coming VERY soon!!!!!
I am so happy to have my Hamilton prints and postcards with a new retailer.....
THE HAMILTON STORE:
They are celebrating their 3 year anniversary this week.
I am a big fan of the store, and of Hamilton.
If you are a regular reader here, you know that already!
But I really do love this store - partially because the owner is spectacularly lovely and charming!
One of the things that is special about The Hamilton Store, is the curation of the products. Almost everything is made by local people, and THAT is amazing! There is a hugely diverse line up of things....from condiments to art!
This is the perfect store for your holiday gifts!
Whether you know someone in Hamilton, or ARE someone from Hamilton, there is going to be a great gift (or gift to self)!
I LOVE the city, I have a bunch of relatives and friends that live there.....and they MUST go down to The Hamilton Store at
165 James Street North, and pick up something special!!
Also check them out on the interwebs:
The Hamilton Store Website
on their Facebook page
and on Twitter!
WOW! What a weekend!!!
Those were the longest hours I have EVER worked at ANY show - EVER!
There were THOUSANDS of people out this past weekend for the James Street Supercrawl in Hamilton!
And I was part of that craziness with my booth mate Cindy Scaife!
It is hard to know how to describe it!
I ate some good eats and met some really great people and I was entertained by the colourful locals.
From a 10 year old stilts walker, to a 60 year old shirtless dancer (that we nicknames Disco Boris) to the 500 dudes in tank tops , board shorts and neck tattoos! We really saw a lot!
The show had a number of frustrations as well, but I promised myself I would not yell about them!
To keep ourselves busy in the off times, or when people were totally indifferent to our art, we would imagine that we had a "Hamilton Bingo" card that got stamped each time we saw something unusual! So....below....I will write (HAMBINGO) each time a photo verifies the fun weirdness!
WEATHER NOTES: First day/night was BLAZINGLY HOT and sweaty - but dry! Side note - sunscreen bottles left in the sun will produce boiling hot lava and burn your skin......but I digress....
The next day.....we were up early to locate and buy pool noodles to keep the impending rain from pooling in the corners of our tent - so that it didn't collapse on us!
Sadly, I had a rather terrible night sleep, as it seemed that a fair number of 20 year old university 'dudes' don't know better than to yell on the streets at 2am like a-holes! I guess Aaron, Tyler and Ryan just can't image a world beyond their bongs and beer pong where people might need to be sleeping....and not listening to them scream at each other! "CODY....COOOODY....YOU F^*&ING WASTED??"
Okay - rant finished....
Just in case you were wondering...yes...Cody....aka Bra....WAS indeed "s**tfaced"!
But that is okay......I knew I had a 15 hour day ahead.....so I had a bunch of coffee and we went to set up!
I was so tired.....but THEN....we saw this...
(See clip below!)
AMAZING RIGHT??????? If only it could have been used to clean up the trash the night before!! :-)
Oh, and did you notice the operator of this bad boy? It's Captain Jack Sweepoh! (HAMBINGO - hipster with an eye patch)
ANYWAYS.....here is day 2 at the Supercrawl.....enjoy....the photos:
What I have failed to mention thus far is the art installation that backed onto our tent. It was great and all.....but this is how it sounded....all day/night long....on a loop that lasted about 5 minutes on - 5 minutes off....for 12 hours straight!!!!!!!!!
We kept trying to make up words to it, and thought it sounded like a "minor key Mr Sandmand"...or rather Mr anti-sandman. Please enjoy. I filmed this IN MY BOOTH....which will give you an idea of the VOLUME.
Yup......about 38 hours of that "song"!!!
It was I think waterboarding must be like!
NEXT DAY.....are you ready for this......
WAS PERFECT FREAKING WEATHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I had a great night sleep - and have to thank Donna at The Hamilton Store for making outlives SOOOO much easier! Make sure you go see her next time you are on James North. Her store is FANTASTIC!
After a good night sleep, I packed up and got in my car to drive to the show....and found this under my windshield......
ANYWAYS.......so Sunday at The Supercrawl was for the non-humans.....
That attack doggie started the day.....and then......
Missing from my pets of Supercrawl photo section....ONLY because I couldn't get to my camera out in time to get the photo are:
1. Man with 5 birds on shoulders/head singing (him - not the birds)
2. Lady with ferret
3. Hipster couple with 2 bunnies on leashes
4. Lizard guy
5. The snake people
6. Jojo the rat faced lady
But were any of these odd enough to get onto the Hamilton Bingo Card?
Oh....did I mention the locusts??????
I feel like that should have been a sign for me!!!!!!!!
..more of the FINAL day.....
So there you go.
A SUPER recap - for the Supercrawl!
Thanks to Margaret and Alex and Donna and Gord and EVERYONE that was funny and lovely to be around for the weekend! I really did appreciate spending time with some great Hamiltonians!!!
Thanks to the folks who came by to spend some time and $$ this weekend!
And thanks to Cindy for keeping me in stitches!
I may NOT be back as a vendor for another Supercrawl, but I will DEFINITELY be back for drinks and dinner and shopping!!
Let me just leave you with this last thing.....
JAMES STREET SUPERCRAWL
Friday, September 9th 6:00pm 12:00am
Saturday, September 10th 12:00pm 12:00am
Sunday, September 11th 12:00pm 7:00pm
Supercrawl is a free festival weekend of art and music on James Street in Hamilton, Ontario.
I WILL BE THERE sharing a tent with Cindy Scaife and her art!
I will also probably be drinking to make it to midnight!
So come by to see THAT!
Also.....if you like music.....and I know many do.....
Headliners at Supercrawl 2016 will include The Strumbellas, Matt Andersen & the Bona Fide, The Trews, F---ed Up, Four Tet, Junior Boys, and Sharon and Bram.
For the show I completed some new Hamilton themed works...
There are also limited edition Giclée prints of these bad boys.
For those of you who are NEW to my merch.....
A Giclée (pronounced "jhee-clay") is a sophisticated inkjet method of printing on acid free watercolor paper. They are produced for me by a professional Giclee Printer on an Epson printer with K3 pigment inks.
All my giclées are printed in 2 sizes, 16" x 20" ($80.00) and
8" x 10" ($40.00). The paper is high qualtity, acid and chlorine free 100% cotton rag paper. Each one is signed and numbered in ink - by yours truly.
Please note, they are small (limited) editions.....so once they are gone - they are GONE!
I have also made a few new postcards for this event, and some original little art paintings - these are off my INSTAGRAM feed:
So come out at see these guys and MANY MORE this weekend!
Remember, this is A RAIN OR SHINE EVENT....and it is FREEEEE!
Come out and say HI!
See you tomorrow?!
Gosh. I really thought that I would be more regular with my posts here. Let's face it, I've been a bit of a slacker lately.
BUT I am working like a crazy man on a bunch of projects, and also dealing with this:
YUP! The old fall kitchen reno. Seemed like such a great idea a few months ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ANYWAYS....all I gotta do is get through the next month without a complete melt down and I will have a brand new kitchen.
In the meantime, I have shows to do! Next up, as I mentioned in the
As you can see above I featured Albion, Webster and Tews Falls.
You really should go and see these....and the MANY MANY more falls in the Hamilton area!!!!
THIS.....is the final image:
I am super happy with this one!
I really enjoyed painting the landscape!!!
I may do a part II - "more falls of Hamilton" - as there are so MANY (YES I KNOW I ALREADY MENTIONED IT) waterfalls in the Hamilton area.
COME OUT. See this beauty in person NEXT WEEK in Hamilton!!!
I will have some prints available as well!
YES...you'll see those next week on this blog!
WHAT UP Y'ALL!!!
I have been super busy getting ready for.....brace for it....my FALL....yes, I said FALL, shows. (Insert whimpering here!)
First up is....
JAMES STREET SUPERCRAWL
Friday, September 9th 6:00pm 12:00am
Saturday, September 10th 12:00pm 12:00am
Sunday, September 11th 12:00pm 7:00pm
Supercrawl is a free festival weekend of art and music on James Street in Hamilton, Ontario. I WILL BE THERE sharing a tent with Cindy Scaife and her art! I will also probably be drinking to make it to midnight!!!!!!! So come by for THAT!
To get ready for the big show, I am doing a few new paintings.
To add to my Hamilton collection, I wanted to replicate the kind of look in my "The 6ix" painting. Don't remember that one???
HERE IT IS!
I like calling Hamilton 'the Hammer' it's strong imagery!
I like even better that I have used the tagline from the 80's....
YUP! How fun am I??
ANYWAYS, so then I tried to pick a few highlights of Hamilton. Are they EVERYONE'S first choice? Naw. But I like them....and THAT is what is important!
I chose architecture I really liked...the imagery is as follows....
1. The Hamilton waterfront/skyline (with a nod to the steel mills)
2. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats
3. The Pigott Building
4. The George R. Robinson Bandshell in Gage Park
3. City Hall
4. The proposed light rail on King Street (I am imagining this is
gonna get me into hot water with some people!)
5. The first Tim Horton's
6. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
Here is a small non-detailed breakdown of how I completed the painting...
.....and then I stopped documenting it!
Which always happen when I get 'into the groove'......
Here is the FINAL IMAGE!
I am also working up merch based this this bad boy!!
Please come out in September to see me!!!
I will be bringing my booth to Hamilton!
YUP! Come out and see my NEW work SEPTEMBER 9th - 11th on the street as part of The James Street North SUPERCRAWL!
It looks a little something like this:
I have enjoyed strolling this event in previous years, but this time, I will be RIGHT IN THE ACTION!
I will be sharing my booth with Cindy Scaife....you can check out her stuff here!
I will obviously have more information as the days get closer.....but for now, put it in your calendar!
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Rob is a professional artist, lover of vintage stuff, part time smart @ss and compulsive pancake eater!