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‘Happiness and laughter:’ Hamilton Print Expo unites artists with the community

The Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) held a print expo on Oct. 21, the last day of the AGH Festival.

Local print-based artists from Hamilton and the neighbouring areas were given the opportunity to display and sell their artwork. There were a variety of art pieces to see across the vendors’ tables, including print illustrations, cartoon drawings and comics, each unique to the artist behind the creations.

Stephanie Sutcliffe is the face behind the artworks of Basecamp Collective and she specializes in printmaking and hand embroidery. She is also one of the local artists who appeared as one of the vendors at the expo. Having grown up in and around Hamilton, she feels a sense of community and finds most of the inspiration for her art comes from within the city.

“I definitely have gotten most inspiration [for my art] from Hamilton itself,” Sutcliffe said enthusiastically. “I love how Hamilton has space for everyone. I feel community support, I love my neighbours, we all look out for each other. There’s a sense of community in Hamilton.”

Sutcliffe was ecstatic to share her print designs with visitors as well as connect with other local print artists. Many of the pieces she was displaying were those that she created back in art school, along with some screen printing designs and hand-made cards.

“There were 30 of us [at the expo] and it was neat to be around other printmakers,” she said. “Usually when I go to markets or shows, it’s pretty common that I’m the only print maker there but with this one it was just print makers. It was exciting to talk to other people who knew the medium and understood it.”

Admission to the print expo was free, but visitors were encouraged to bring money with them so they could support a local artist by making a purchase if a certain piece of art caught their eye.

Julie Fazooli is another local print-based artist who attended the expo as a vendor and got to exhibit a variety of her work. Fazooli said that being personable and building connections with people is the key to being a successful artist. Her goal as an artist is to create art that resonates with people on a deep level.

“Connection is the most important thing about being an artist,” Fazooli said pensively. “The art that I create evokes so much happiness and laughter with people, because I’m so comedic about stuff that people connect to my personality, and then when they first see my work, it evokes deeper, more emotional reactions than if they were to just see a boring art piece hanging on a wall. You get out of life what you put into it, and what I put into my art, I get back out of it from the community when they see it. It’s a very symbiotic relationship.”

Fazooli creates a variety of graphic design pieces. This is an example of her foodie prints collection based on desserts.
Fazooli also has an art series she does that is called Humanimals, where she draws the heads of animals onto human bodies.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton hosts the AGH Festival annually. It is a 10-day event that celebrates all types of art with music and live performances. The print expo is expected to be returning again as part of next year’s event.

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