Canadian artist Neil Hamelin finds his inspiration telling stories of our heritage through the weathered wood and flaking paint that stand vestige to our past. His paintings capture the feeling of forgotten stories and adventures told through the rusty metal of vehicles, and battered wood of homesteads long dis-remembered.
An injury led to Hamelin picking up a paint brush for the first time in 2010 in an attempt to find an outlet for the creativity he felt locked away. As a self-taught artist, he challenges himself to notice the beauty and story in subjects that may otherwise be ignored. Creating from his own experiences requires the artist to spend time travelling our backroads seeking stories to be painted. A lifetime’s interest with vehicles and objects from our heritage captures Hamelin's imagination where he is enamoured by the artistry and craftsmanship that was once employed in their fabrication. There was a degree of aesthetics often incorporated by engineers and builders of old, which resulted in subtle elements of beauty and elegance into objects that were designed primarily for function. It is this contrast between function versus form and the attempt to incorporate the two that draws this artist’s interest. As opposed to the allure of shiny chrome and flawless paint, Hamelin sees the beauty in age and weathering, showing evidence of a life lived. His paintings become a touchstone, triggering stories from our ancestry. Twenty years spent as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer before his career in the arts allows Hamelin to understand these machines with a clarity reserved for those whose hands are familiar with such work.
Hamelin has received National recognition for his artwork with a series of gold coins released through the Royal Canadian Mint. Hamelin was also awarded ‘Best of Show’ for 2-D Art at the 2016 Western Showcase at the Calgary Stampede and in 2017 Hamelin was also selected to participate in the prestigious CM Russell Auction in Great Falls, Montana. His paintings are found in the homes of private collectors and corporations internationally.