House of Paint Festival Review


2013 HOP Core staff (minus myself) Photo: James Park

Well another year is in the books, it's been a wild ride. The outpouring of positive comments and support from fans and participants has been awe inspiring! I'd like to personally thank all of the great people I've had the chance to work with over the past 7 years. The core group of House of Paint has changed my life in a way I can't express in words, you guys deserve all of the kudos coming your way! is your source for the graffiti side of HOP. Sneak will have final photos of the pieces from the Main event as well as Tech Wall very soon!  We understand most post event footage are the bboy battles and concert, so we'll do our best to get as much graffiti related content up on Keepsix for the writers and fans of graffiti. Pat Thompson (aka Evoke) was one of this years featured artists, who painted the east river wall.  Back in his Ottawa days Pat was an instrumental part of House of Paints early years, curating the first event back in 2003. This year we had him come up from Toronto to create a thought provoking mural with his signature style laced with many colours and layers.  Our HOPx 2013 Tshirt was also designed by Pat, featuring a skin graft symbolizing how our hiphop community runs deep. We also had an unexpected late addition to the jam this year; Kazakhstan native Chemis.  His painting of a man encased in ice on his iphone is something to be seen in person.   Chemis is a graffiti artist who is currently traveling the world painting murals.  He's been traveling North America since April, and is currently in Russia on his next project.  It was great to meet such a talented writer and genuine person, I hope to meet him again soon for some painting. Our two feature murals were produced by friends of the festival - The Crazy Apes Crew, and a collaboration mural by Hiero (Ottawa), Five, Earth Crusher and Siez (Montréal).   The Crazy Apes came with their signature collaborative piece, and I was honoured to get a shout out on the piece!  The space mural that Hiero and crew created is pretty intense, which is the second collaborative piece at HOP Five and Hiero have been a part of. The main wall format with year was a little different than what the writers are used to.  I think the space increase was a good idea, giving the writers on the wall a chance to paint a piece that's more like what they would normally paint.   Each year the number one issue brought up at jams is space, and with the limited wall space at our venue its always tricky to balance.   We expanded the temporary space to balance the space, opening a few feature boards under the bridge for some of the writers that normally would be on the wall.  I appreciate everyone's understanding and hope HOP will soon come to an agreement with the City on letting us paint the other sides of the bridge during the festival. The concert series on Friday and Saturday was great.  I didn't get to see most of the acts, but hope I can get to see some of the official footage soon to see what I missed!  I was glad to see Ghettosocks get up on the HOP stage this year, as he's one of my favourite MC's.  Big Daddy Kane and Afrika Bambaataa rocked the bridge as well, and really gave the festival a load of energy moving into the main event. In conclusion, making something out of nothing isn't an easy feat.  To see so many people work their asses off over the years on something they believe in and have it pay off like this is almost surreal.  After talking to many people post event, the consensus was that this year, HOP felt like it was on par with the other major festivals in the National Capital Region.  We've worked really hard over the years on developing an event that would attract newcomers as a recognized festival in the Ottawa circuit, but also to keep the grass roots feel and mandate true to what HOP has always been about.  This way we don't lose focus moving forward and can properly show Canada what positivity can come out of graffiti and hip hop culture in general. I think our community of dedicated artists, staff and volunteers are some of the most genuinely positive people I've met, and I wish you all luck moving forward! Below are a few videos, our official site ( will have more festival photos and video coming soon. Also "Like" our Facebook fan page ( for more content during last weeks festival. - Mike Keepsix Founder & House of Paint Graffiti Coordinator

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