By Sarah Jessica Rintjema
Freelance writer Sarah Jessica Rintjema tells us about the work of three local artists that she’s excited about this fall. Check out two of them, Robyn Lightwalker and Melissa Lam, at Friday’s art crawl.
Robyn Lightwalker is an Art Crawl regular, two-time Art Battle winner, Hamilton native, and no stranger to the artist lifestyle.
“I’ve been creating art since I was a kid,” said Lightwalker. “Everything that I do is either art or related to art. I do some life modelling, and some artist-assistant type gigs for artists that are way more successful than me — but I try to keep my living expenses as low as possible so that I have more money to spend on art supplies and travelling.”
Lightwalker’s mom, a painter and sculptor, encouraged her to create from an early age.
“My mom used to do a lot of figure drawings. Growing up, we had this mural on the wall of our house of this naked man, balls out and everything,” said Lightwalker. “She would create artsy games for my brother and I. She would fold a piece of paper over a few times and we’d each have a portion, I would draw the head, my brother the torso, my mom the legs. We didn’t know what the other was drawing, so we’d create these weird characters.”
On August 30, Lightwalker hosted an art exhibit at her Main Street studio for her “100 Butts” project. Her collection is made of oil paintings of friends, relatives, models, and complete stranger’s bare bums.
“I find inspiration in the things that spark happiness in me,” said Lightwalker. “My friend wrote a song about butts, and I thought it was the funniest thing. We all ended up drawing this butt poster, then I went to Amsterdam and visited the sex museum there. They had this exhibit where all these butts were sticking out of the wall, and that mixture inspired me to start drawing butts.”
Although relatively new to the art world, Lightwalker has attracted a large group of fans in the Hamilton community, and is always looking for new ways to experiment with art.
“I’m a really young artist — I’m 25, and I’ve really only been doing art seriously for about five years,” said Lightwalker. “So right now I’m experimenting with every medium I can, and just trying to figure out where my heart is. Right now I’m loving pottery, oil painting, and I’m just getting into the digital world.”
Cory Weaver, or known as his artist name C.Weaver, has been selling his paintings for over a decade.
“I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil,” said Weaver. “My high school art teacher showed me an artist name Jean Michel-Basquiat and that’s what inspired me to really give painting a shot. I never liked it as a kid, I always drew over paintings, but once I saw what he did with his art it opened the possibilities for me.”
C.Weaver is known for his abstract monster portraits, painted with colourful oils on canvases.
“I paint mostly from my subconscious,” said Weaver. “I paint an abstract base and find images in that base, then I layer and add to them from there. They often have many different meanings, but I mostly like to see how others interpret them.”
Although working a daytime job framing paintings, C.Weaver lives and breathes his craft.
“I wouldn’t call it a hobby by any stretch, I’ve always called it my career even if I’ve never been able to make a living from it,” said Weaver. “I live to make art and I couldn’t exist without it. That’s not a hobby to me, but everyone is different. The hardest times are usually the days where you’ll spend all day at an art show/crawl and you can’t make a sale, those are always tough days. You just have to suck it up and grind through them though because that’s just part of life.”
C.Weaver plans to continue coming out to Art Crawl, and is proud to be a part of the Hamilton arts community.
“I try to be as involved with the Hamilton art scene as I can be,” said Weaver. “I’m a huge fan of Art Crawl and it’s been a big help with my career. Most of my sales come directly out of it and it’s extremely rewarding having the immediate feedback of people and other artists.”
Melissa Lam of FreeLittleLamDesigns finds spiritual healing in creating art.
“My goal when I first started was to share what I’ve learned about healing crystals with as many people possible, in hope to assist them on their own healing and spiritual journey,” said Lam. “I wanted to create pieces for those free-spirited individuals. The ones who know that light and magic reside within each and everyone of us. That we are the creators of our own world and that true power for change lies within.”
Lam specializes in crystal and bead jewellery, designing necklaces, bracelets, rings and more.
“I was always interested in the arts, but being raised in a Chinese-Canadian family, the arts were viewed more as a side hobby rather than a means of living,” said Lam. “However, over the years I realized just how important it is to do something that you love and to follow your passions, so that you can wake up each morning with a sense of purpose.”
Lam began researching crystals after she suffered a major back injury in 2013.
“I thought I would never walk again,” said Lam. “I started desperately searching for alternative ways of healing the mental, physical and spiritual trauma. While training (yoga) in the Andes mountains in Peru, I started learning about the healing benefits of crystals. I wanted to find a creative way I could carry some of my favourite pieces I collected with me while on the go. So I bought some wire and some basic hand tools and started wire-wrapping! I started getting so many compliments on the pieces I had created for myself. So I listened to that calling, started taking my art seriously, and opened my Etsy Shop, FreeLittleLamDesigns.”
As a Hamiltonian, Lam is excited to be a part of the growing arts community.
“Being born and raised in Hamilton, it makes me very proud to be a part of the Art Crawl community that brings a spark of life to downtown Hamilton,” said Lam. “It’s so nice to meet so many like-minded individuals and see first hand all the passionate, creative spirits sharing their art.”
All photos courtesy of the author.
Sarah Jessica is a freelance Music & Arts Journalist based in Hamilton. She specializes in profiling local artists, and live music photography. You can find her work at www.sarahshotspot.com, or on Instagram @theother.sarahjessica.