Friday, August 21, 2015

Music, Merch, And More at Urban Hamilton Artists on Main Street East

By Shiona Mackenzie

A couple of years ago, the junk shop across from No Frills on Main St. East near Balmoral Ave. South faded away and in its place a new store has emerged, boldly declaring: “We print anything on anything!"

HamiltonArtists.Ca offers a multitude of fun, music-themed gift items like sparkly treble clef, grand piano and violin brooches, not to mention beautiful candles and handmade, upcycled chalkboard signs created from old picture frames. But its basic mission is to help artists and musicians by providing materials and methods to promote and market their work. You can order custom CD covers, personalized t-shirts, mugs, posters, tote bags, clocks, banners, bottle openers, key rings, automotive decals, bumper stickers, car magnets, and much more – all printed in Hamilton rather than sent to the USA, which is the practice of most big retailers in Canada.

“Musicians and artists needed a service that would print, package and deliver their merchandise, allowing them to concentrate on doing what they love most – playing music and making art.”

HamiltonArtists.Ca also reproduces artwork on many different mediums, including slate and tile, for galleries.

HamiltonArtists.Ca, owned by Bob and Eva Stosic, is the vision of Maggie Ciere, a multi-talented singer-songwriter who has been performing in the Hamilton area since the tender age of 15 and returned to live in the Crown Point hub from Bancroft last year. She says the new business has attracted attention from popular Hamilton-based musicians and artists and is thriving one year on. This is despite quizzical looks and doubts expressed by several local entrepreneurs with whom she shared her concept before it was launched.

“Many people I talked to didn’t know if there was a market for another screen, digital and sublimation printing company in Hamilton, but, as an artistic person myself, I had a strong sense of what was missing,” she said. “Musicians and artists needed a service that would print, package and deliver their merchandise, allowing them to concentrate on doing what they love most – playing music and making art.”

Ginger St. James, Greater Hamilton Musician, Duane Rutter, Mississippi Bends and Diane Beatty-Wearing are among HamiltonArtists.Ca clients who have feature pages on the website, where they supply the imagery and anybody can order one of their designs on a selection of products. The system is set up to notify the artist by email when an order comes in and payment is automatically deposited in the artist’s bank account. “For a small fee, it allows musicians to earn money from promotional items without having to carry inventory,” Maggie explains.

At the store, you can also purchase CDs by Hamilton-based musicians, such as “Echoes of Legends” by the George Rose Big Band, “Innominate” by Social Animal, and “Shameless Subversion” a compilation produced by Kevin Barber at Boxo Studio on Cumberland Avenue near Gage Park, in support of mental health awareness.

While her health limits the number of hours she can volunteer in the store helping her granddaughter, Oryanna Walsh, a singer in the Halton Regional Police Service Chorus who manages the social media and sales for HamiltonArtists.ca, Maggie says it gives her something to do that is meaningful and enjoyable. “It’s all hands on deck, with my nephew, Chris Ciere, who trained at Sheridan and Mohawk College, as the in-house graphic artist, and Bob Stosic taking care of signage installation and vehicle wrapping.” Bob happens to be a respected vintage car restoration expert.

HamiltonArtists.Ca also mentors Delta co-op students who are interested in design. Here they can develop new skills and meet some enterprising and creative people who are making a difference in our city.

If you need something unique or original for a special somebody, you can probably find it or get it made at HamiltonArtists.Ca, because they really can print anything on anything.

www.HamiltonArtists.ca / 1141 Main St. East / 289-396-1653


Photo credit: Shiona Mackenzie

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