Leif Gregersen Supplied
Corey Hamilton Supplied
Angela Wald Supplied
Erasmo Coco Painting by Jill Thomson
Steven Johnson Twyla McGann
Heart of the City is coming up on June 3 and 4, and features a wide range of emerging and established artists from many genres. Here are profiles of just some of the talent to expect at this year’s festival!
Text and photos were supplied, except where otherwise noted.
Corey Hamilton was born in Winnipeg in 1971 and raised just outside of Edmonton. He started seriously painting, writing, and taking photographs in 1986. Hamilton has to his credit the following: over 200 paintings, thousands of photographs, over 1800 poems, over 20 published books of poetry and prose, one 7” EP of spoken word performances and music, two CDs, and two DVDs. Corey started performing his brand of poetry/spoken word in 1991 when he hosted a poetry open stage for two years at the City Media Club. Hamilton isn’t just prolific. He lives for his art. Or as Alan Kellogg once wrote in the Edmonton Journal, “Corey represents a very real triumph of, if you will, the human spirit, of following internal and external muses wherever they lead, whatever they say.”
Corey graduated from NAIT’s Photographic Technologies in 1995. Except for the art classes he took in high school, he is a self-taught painter and loves reading, writing, painting, photography, Judo, and listening to music. Influenced in the 1980s by the punk rock/hardcore DIY (do-it-yourself) ethic, he lives that ethic to this day. Is his art based on catharsis, style, or pure passion? You be the judge. DramaticSituations.com has been online since 1999.
My name is Angela Wald. I am 36 years old. Although Edmonton has been home since 2012, I was born in Grande Prairie and raised on a farm outside of Sexsmith AB. My interest in volunteering and networking with the inner city stems from a direct correlation with my own past. I spent a stint of my life living in the throes of addiction. The future seemed bleak and foreboding. It’s hard to say when the pinnacle was that made me want to change my life, I think it was an accumulation of everything. I left behind a world that had consumed me for years, and honestly, almost killed me. Addiction left a big void in my life. Being an addict was a full-time job. I filled the void with everything! Adventures, interests, fitness, hobbies… I started painting. It felt good and the feedback I got from people was uplifting. I began to paint more. Up and coming is my first art showing. I will have a spring collection up for show at Ruby Gorgeous Salon (10154-114 Street) where they will be on display for sale for three months.
Erasmo Coco was born and raised in Edmonton. Erasmo plays blues, traditional, and roots music. His instruments of choice are the harmonica, guitar, banjo, diddley bow, cookie tin guitar, and maybe a few more. He loves transforming objects like discarded cookie tins, broken hockey sticks, and such into musical instruments.
He worked as a telephone installation and repair tech in the Boyle Street, McCauley, and Norwood neighbourhoods for approximately 20 years. His musical inspiration came from interaction with people living in the areas. He entered their homes, met them in the alleys and street, and always maintained an open mind.
Erasmo loves playing outdoors. When performing he follows two rules: get the job done and play as if this will be the last time you will ever play
Steven Johnson and his family have lived in McCauley since 2000.
An active member of the community, Steven has performed at the Heart of the City Festival since its inception. He has also performed at E4C functions, the Kaleido and Sasquatch festivals, North Country Fair, Nina Haggerty Centre and The Winspear.
Steven shares his knowledge and passion for music with his students at his Edmonton studio and the McCauley Community League Guitar lessons, which take place at the Boys and Girls Club on Mondays at 8 p.m. For more: stevenjohnson.ca
Leif Gregersen is a local McCauley writer and public speaker. He grew up in St. Albert but has been living within a stone’s throw of Giovanni Caboto Park for 15 years. Leif considers himself an advocate of the mentally ill, working for the Schizophrenia Society as a lived experience presenter, as well as having written two books about his life with mental illness.
Leif has been prolific in recent years, having written 11 books in total – including four poetry collections, three short story collections, two young adult historical novels, and his two memoirs. In 2016, Leif was honoured to have won three short story competitions, including two story slam events, and placed first in a 500-word short story contest, all three with cash prizes. The Edmonton Public Library is going to feature Leif as a spotlight writer for the summer of 2017, bringing his words to the greater Edmonton area. More information about Leif can be found at his website: www.edmontonwriter.com.