nfotxn: (Default)
Spent the evening at Gary and Kieran's new gallery talking to my friend John. He's a researcher on respiratory illness at McMaster University here in Hamilton. His wife is an arts administrator type. They've come here from Sydney to save this Canadian city from itself and are two of the most dynamic shit disturbing people you'd ever imagine. They're smacking slackers in the face and getting shit done. Take that complacency.

There is a nearly hilarious situation here in Hamilton's almost-trendy James St. North arts district. With Australians, ex-news paper employees, arts burn outs and members of historic farming families changing the way the city approaches art.

I'm optimistic. Best of all I get to be part of it all.

I got to re-connect briefly with [ profile] etherlad today too.

Good night. Didn't spend a dime.
nfotxn: (Star Trek)
Well, this is validating. I meant to blog about this earlier but I was reminded about it whilst chatting with Steve and Doug last night. For once the press about Hamilton isn't regarding failing industry or rates of cancer. In fact the jist of the article seems to be that Hamilton is the place for GTA based artists to afford their craft. But still live in the lifestyle they were accustomed to in the increasingly grupster infested neighbourhoods of Toronto like Queen West.

Yeah, I already told everyone that. Like twice. And once more when I was drunk and forgot I'd already told you.

So let me allow this to be my documented advice to all my local gays with money. Buy a house in the James Street Noth/Jamesville area. Barring something tragic like a horrible batch of acrylic paint that asphyxiates all the artists in the area it's unlikely this place is going to un-gentrify any time soon.

Oh and Douglas Drake is my roomie Doug. You know, just to get the biases out in the open.

Hamming it up

Toronto artists are finding a cheap and cheerful alternative to the megacity in Hamilton.

The New York Times ran a piece last year about how all the young New York artists were packing up their paint brushes and decamping for Philadelphia, which is close and cheap, and, has Philly Cheesesteaks. I joked with my editor: "Hey, maybe the same thing's happening with Toronto and Hamilton.''

We laughed. Oh how we laughed.

Imagine my surprise when I found it to be true.

"I'm a former Torontonian and I moved here two and a half years ago," says Ian Jarvis, artist and community programmer for Hamilton Artists Inc., an artist run spot that supports contemporary visual arts.

Mr. Jarvis tells me he was part of the whole Toronto arts scene -- still is -- "but it's really hard to be an artist in Toronto now," he laments. "You need two to three jobs to make a living so there's no time for art, and no room for art storage."

Artists are being priced out and pushed out of work lofts and studios as the buildings morph into cafes and condos. "So we decided to move to Hamilton, where we bought a four bedroom 100-year old Victorian house with a basement rental."

His mortgage? $276 a month. Actually, make that $138, because he splits it with his partner. "As a result," explains Mr. Jarvis, "I only need to work three days a week, which leaves four days for creating art."
carrying on... )


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