H5RVA: Hamilton! It’s truly incredible good fortune to get to see you work. Thank you so much for all of the time and extraordinary talent you have put in on the mural at Richmond Cycling Corps (RCC) at 2123 Fairmount Ave—and every mural you have done. I know people can find out about you on your website, but if someone walked up to you while you were working and asked, “Why do you do this?” what would you say?
Hamilton: I create public art because it a great passion of mine. Along with being in love with the process of making murals, creating work that speaks to its surrounds is something that yields a great responsibility. It's that responsibility that also makes my work interesting to me. As a native to Philadelphia I grew up benefiting from murals that spoke directly to the community via the Mural arts program there.
H5RVA: Your presence (and that of the 20+ Altria volunteers who came to help one day) has made a lot of people stop and look at the work. The mural has made people walk in and ask, “What happens in this building?” It has given me the chance to introduce people to the work of RCC, give tours of our space, and introduce them to some of the youth in our programs. When I said to you last week that you have no idea how many people you have brought in the door, you said, “I do, actually.” You’ve seen what public art can do. Why do you think it opens up so much?
Hamilton: Art in general speaks a language words cannot. In my experience when community conscious murals go up on a establishment I believe it makes that place stand out. It is an exercise in creative place making, as it makes that place a more of a destination and since the art is for all to experience it makes it more welcoming to the community.
H5RVA: What influences your art? The mural on RCC’s building is so closely aligned to the mission of empowering youth to use critical thinking in a chaotic world. What influences other murals that you have done?
Hamilton: The simple answer to what influences my art is the people/community. I am alway so conscious of where my work lives and who will be experiencing it that it is usually the driving force of the design.
H5RVA: Why Richmond?
Hamilton: My mother is originally from Richmond and I ended up here to be closer to my family. Once I moved here in 2007 I fell in love with the art community and I've tried to be a contributing factor ever since.
H5RVA: Little known fact about Hamilton Glass?
Hamilton: Hamilton is my middle name that I embraced after deciding that I wanted to be an artist--which wasn't until I was 28-29 years old. Though I have created art all my life, I never though it was possible to become artist for a living. I always disliked the name Hamilton and deciding to use it as my "art name" was kinda of like accepting who I am and my purpose.