Bio~ Eddie Hamilton’s work is primarily acrylic on canvas but also includes mixed media on wood panel. His direct and playful work represents the emotion, energy, and interactions of people in their communities. Eddie’s paintings are developed after research and reflection on the concept to be represented. Currently, his work is the result of studying gentrification and interpersonal human urban contact. Acrylics, ink, and crayon are used because of the ability to quickly apply and layer these materials resulting in a continuous flow of work in one sitting. His visual representation of people and the urban setting has been greatly influenced by his childhood in California. His fascination with communities and the urban life is a result of living in vastly different areas as a child and an adult search for a sense of a community to call his own.
The Bishop and The Piper (Hamline University), Eddie Hamilton,2010 48” x 72”, Acrylic on Canvas
Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My new project is thanks to a 2012 Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. The goal of The Shadows Project is to bring awareness to the Minnesota public about the challenges and successes in recent years when it comes to the inclusion of people living with disabilities.
I will spend a period of time with a person with a mild to severe disability (partner) to gain an understanding of their interaction with their community. Depending on the relationship developed with the partner, our time together can range from one day up to a week or more. During my research I will interview the partner, their family, and community members they interact with. I will also capture images that represent my partner’s physical environment. Observational notes and photography will be used to document my partner’s interaction with their environment.
The result of the time with my partner will have three outcomes. One: A personal relationship formed between us. Two: A short biography of my partner and their community interaction. Three: An 8’ x 16’ painting showing my interpretation of my partner’s interaction with their community and the opportunity to raise awareness of the unique way people with disabilities interact with their community through exhibition of the work at my studio, on my website, and future public exhibition. The scale of the paintings is important because it seemingly allows the viewer to walk into the setting I have illustrated.
The scale of the paintings from this project is new territory for me as well as the research time that is needed before I even begin painting. This is very new for me, I usually paint from only my perspective but it seems that there is an opportunity to walk in another’s shoes for a while as well.
Moses, Eddie Hamilton,2010 48” x 72”, Acrylic on Canvas
How did you decide to become an artist?
So, I was talking with a friend recently about how I wonder if I am an artist. My argument was that I could stop making my work and could move onto something else and be fine. For example, I’m completing school this year and earning my initial teaching license in special education. I can see committing myself to education and putting painting behind me. Can an artist even consider not making new things?
But, I do like to make things because it is a great way to communicate, especially for me and my reserved personality. I guess I’ll keep painting because it is a way to say what I have to say. And if I was to label the kind of art I make I think it is definitely moving in the direction of folk art if anything.
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Neighborhood Eddie Hamilton, 2011 8' x 8', Acrylic on Panel
What was the best advice given to you as an artist? “What else can you do?” – Merl Clercx my high school art teacher. He told me this after I had completed another life-like drawing.
Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art. How do you sell your work? How do you market yourself?
I don’t feel like I do much, but over time my work has been out there for a lot of people to see. I send out an email newsletter about 4 times a year and have a web site that I update once in a while. My most effective marketing tool has been having a studio in the Northrup King Building for 8 or 9 years. The longer I am there the more people know where to find me during art crawls or First Thursdays.
Saying yes to offers to show work has also been successful for me. I’ve said yes to a lot of coffee shops, restaurants, and other businesses when they ask me to show my work in their space.
Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
Far too many to compile a list, right now I enjoy the murals along Lake Street and through my South Minneapolis Neighborhood. I don’t know them all but I like what Jimmy Longoria has been doing, http://www.jimmylongoria.com/
If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
I prefer to be inspired on the street or on the road someplace. Being surprised by art in unusual places is exciting like driving the alleys in South Minneapolis you can see murals, paintings in the garbage etc.
In addition to www.Local-Artist-Interviews.com, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
I have to honestly say that I don’t usually go anywhere to find new artists aside from what I see on the street or hear about from other artists. I suppose that is part of me not always thinking I am an artist. The website I probably visit the most is Interact’s website.