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Why Supercrawl Is Worth the Trip to Hamilton
Incredible music line-up anchors Steeltown's free flagship art festival

Supercrawl, Hamilton’s art and music festival, is anticipated to draw crowds surpassing 80,000. It’s necessitated additional GO service from Toronto for the duration of the two day event. Hamilton has become a haven for Toronto artists and performers seeking lower rents and more space to create.

Wintersleep, The Sadies, F**cked Up, Passion Pit, Yo La Tengo, Joel Plaskett Emergency and Egyptrixx are among 57 musical performances, in addition to visual artist collaborations and demonstrations by the Hammer City Roller Girls and the Zacada Circus School.

Fucked Up are to perform Saturday night

Tim Potocic and Dane Pedersen organized this year’s Supercrawl. The event is “a culmination of the efforts of a half dozen galleries,” said Pedersen. “It was their inspired attempts to bring people down to this neighbourhood that had been forgotten by the rest of the city. As the event has matured, so too has the scope. As we enter the fifth year, Supercrawl has truly become the flagship event for the city of Hamilton.”

Visitors can anticipate “an extremely vibrant festival that appeals to a very wide demographic,” added Pototcic. “There is something for everyone. The event is highly curated so we are attempting to bring the best of everything within our budget… of course the music line-up is absolutely stellar. 

Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka are collaborating in large-scale latex and aerosol murals for the event. 

Alexa Hatanaka & Patrick Thompson, String Games Mural.

“We paint in layers,” explained Thompson. “One person goes over the other while adding and subtracting from whatever we are working on. We do our best not to get attached to the things we are doing and trust in each other that their judgment call is right when it comes to what to paint where and how. The intention is to paint something improvised and while we have certain ways of working and mark making we allow for our pieces to grow intuitively in private and in public work.”

Sarah Beck and Shlomi Greenspan will be exhibiting a comedy club-esque installation — classic brick walls, wainscoting, microphone, stool, spotlight, & cocktail tables. “In the world of comedy and stand up, there are fewer taboos than there are in art and we’re trying to mingle and bring them together,” said Greenspan. They were influenced by the ancient festival of Saturnalia, where for a day, everything is turned on its head. “A healthy state or a democracy can stand comical criticism, you can almost measure democracy in a state like that,” said Beck. “We thought it would be interesting to bring humour to art, and see what kind of space there is for humour in art, to have a bit of fun poked at it.” 

Jason Krugman and Patrick Paine, Basis Point.
Jason Krugman and Patrick Paine will also be exhibiting Basis Point, which is made “using aluminum sheeting manipulated by a microcontroller and motors to create an installation of shiny loops of amoebic motion measuring up to twelve feet in height. For Supercrawl we’ve completely re-engineered the Basis Point installation. We re-built the motor mechanisms and recoded the microconrollers to add LED lights and motion sensors so the sculptures can respond to the viewers with motion and light. It was a kinetic response to small changes in the stock market during the financial crisis and how they influence the larger global market. Now that it’s a responsive sculpture with bright LED lights, it’s transformed into something different, something more akin to a reflection on modern life and our unceasing interaction with technology. The sculptures will give the viewers a sense it’s paying attention to them in return for them paying attention to it. So, in a way, the focus of this piece has shifted from one kind of exchange to another, from exchanges on the stock market to a more site-oriented exchange directly with the viewers.”

Supercrawl, which snakes down James Street North, is a free event geared to kids aged ‘0-99’. Torontonians reluctant to make the trek may be pleasantly surprised. Hamilton has an arts community that is “extremely accessible,” said Pedersen. “Getting plugged in and getting involved is as easy as stepping forward. At this moment in time, everything is growing. Events keep getting created all over the city. It is an excellent place to carve out your creative passions.”

Visit www.supercrawl.ca for more information.


Tiffy Thompson is a writer and illustrator for the Toronto Standard.  Follow her on Twitter at @tiffyjthompson. 

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