En Masse @ the James Street North Supercrawl

The James Street North Art Crawl is a monthly institution here in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, where art, music and creativity are celebrated on the second Friday of every month. Last week I had the opportunity to spend both Friday and Saturday at the Supercrawl, which occurs once a year, usually in September, where artists, performers, musicians and gourmands unite in one big  2-day street festival. The streets are shut down and filled with massive stages, a multitude of food trucks and vendors, and all forms of artistic expression are on display.

One of my favourite highlights of this year’s Supercrawl was briefly meeting a couple of the guys from Montreal-based art collective En Masse, and watching them work over the course of both days. Friday, they had an installation in progress at the Design Annex, and Saturday they  were busy all day creating a giant mural on the side of our popular record shop Dr. Disc. I managed to catch a few shots of them hard at work and was so entranced I kept coming back to see the progress over the course of the day.

I love the idea of having a diverse group of like-minded individuals, all collaborating on one big installation, off the top of their heads. The creativity unleashed is astounding – not to mention the technical prowess involved is top-notch. The group works entirely in black and white, and fluctuates in it’s membership, picking up illustrators here and there, so you never get the same atmospheric quality twice. The eye wanders throughout each piece for hours and continually finds awesome and interesting elements, so random, full of life and unique personality, which all tie in together to form a colossal achievement in unity.  It’s the collective individualities meshing so well that you’d think it was all created by one person that make this form of art so magic. I am both in awe of their talent, and in dire need to jump in and take part. Maybe I need a little more drawing practice first…

Regardless, these guys have transformed part of our downtown and I would love for them to come back and cover some more terrain. If it’s one thing Hamilton’s got – it’s lots of wall space in need of creative expression!

To find out more about En Masse, check out their website (which is currently under construction, so please be patient!).

Join them on facebook and follow them on Twitter to see where they’ll pop up next!

To see more awesome works by En Masse, check out Kirsten McCrea’s article. Great photos!

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