Hamilton was a featured guest at an artist’s reception held at the Coaldale Public Library last week in the McCain Gallery, where Hamilton’s work will be on display until the end of the month.
“The style of art is made using a scroll saw — it’s all done by hand. It’s something you used to see a lot of 50 years ago. It’s kind of not something you see a whole lot of around anymore — just mainly because it takes so long. Some of these pieces can take up to 30 hours. It’s labour intensive that way too,” said Hamilton, who has lived in Coaldale for the past 20 years.
For now, Hamilton said his works of art are just a hobby — which he creates in his basement on evenings and weekends.
“It started, I guess I was in elementary school — they had pods you could go to, like in shop class or whatever and you could pick something and they happened to have a scroll saw there. One of the projects was to make something. I made something for my grandfather. I had to be 12 or 13 years old. That’s how it started,” noted Hamilton, who seriously got into the craft 10 years ago and he hasn’t turned back.
Hamilton said he is terrible with a pen and paper but he can work with wood.
“There’s usually three stages to a piece of art. There will be the line art, the inker and then you send it off to a colourist. This is sort of like inking on wood,” he added.
Currently, there are 15 pieces of Hamilton’s work on display at the library but he has created close to 50 pieces in his collection, which are on sale through contacting the artist through his Facebook page. Hamilton has sold pieces as far away as Greece and in the U.S.
“This is the first gallery I’ve ever been in. It’s not something I’ve done before. It’s an experience, as far as the art gallery world is concerned. It’s a whole other world,” said Hamilton. Phoenix Scroll Saw Art has also been featured at craft shows and Christmas shows.
As for inspiration for his work, Hamilton said, if he likes something visually and image-wise he creates an interpretation in wood.
When not creating art Hamilton spends his days at Armadillo Coatings in Coaldale with his two brothers and dad. The coatings shop is where he makes backgrounds for his pieces.
According to Hamilton, the reception from fans of his work has been good and even though it’s a bit different, there are others who create scroll saw art. Hamilton also said his grandfather used to see this genre of art in the past. He added his work stands out, especially to the younger generation, who haven’t been exposed to the type of art Hamilton creates.
Recently, Hamilton attended the Lethbridge Comic Con and has also attended the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo and will be returning to the Lethbridge Entertainment Expo Nov. 22-23 at Exhibition Park. Hamilton said even comic guru Stan Lee has seen his art style in Calgary, as he took a piece up to get signed. “He Really appreciated a different style of art. A few months later, I was contacted by Stan’s assistant and asked to donate a piece to a fundraiser in California. I was invited to go but couldn’t attend,” explained Hamilton.