City- Drawings from the Estate of John Hanson
Earls Court Gallery
215 Ottawa St N, Hamilton, ON L8H 3Z4, Canada
The twenty years from 1950-1970 saw a drastic change in the perception of Hamilton, also known as the Rust Belt. Yes, many employers like Otis Elevator, Firestone and International Harvest shut their doors, leaving many without sound employment. It, however, became a tipping point for the City.
Change, also seen as opportunity, lead to the attraction of financial institutions, High-tech companies, and research sectors to be embed themselves in the fabric of the new Hamilton. This resulted in the need for supportive amenities, specifically in the downtown core. Highways were built, Jackson Square rose from the ashes of architectural mastery and high-rise buildings reshaped the skyline.
And this is what John Hanson chose to capture!
During this time, John Hanson was an art director at the paper company Consolidated Bathurst. It was his primary source of income, besides teaching art. As you may have heard, artists have varied sources of income, especially when raising a family. This steady income allowed Hanson to venture into the changing Hamilton. Armed with sketchbooks, drawing boards, conte, charcoal and Inks, he would place himself not far from the towering cranes erecting the financial company’s new headquarters. Hanson took the time to capture Hamilton evolving; not just a before and after shot.
“City” is a collection of drawings from the 1960s by John Hanson capturing Hamilton’s evolution into the direction we now know it is be aiming for at a more rapid pace. Enclosed in the collection are several rural images from what is now considered Hamilton, since the amalgamation in 2001 (even now those rural images are developed land). John Hanson stopped to take the time to capture the raw transformation occurring in Hamilton amongst the hustle and bustle of a City. His drawings are witnesses to an old and overlooked City at the cusp of change.
-- Curator Andrea Jackman