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Hidden St. Catharines

on view at the Flea Market Gallery Sundays from 9AM-4PM beginning Sunday 21 April 2024 until Sunday 21 July 2o24.

St. Catharines was incorporated as a city in 1876, but its history extends well before that date. With records spanning hundreds of years, and a present population in the hundreds of thousands, it would be impossible to tell the complete story of our fair Garden City.
Hidden St. Catharines is an ongoing project aiming to highlight some of the forgotten peoples, groups and organizations that have called St. Catharines home.

Or is HiddenSTC an art project by Joseph Gottli? Tough to say.

Learn more about HIDDEN ST. CATHARINES here

My name is Joseph Gottli ― you can call me Joe ―and I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember.

Comics, posters, pennants, chalkboard murals, sculpture, paintings and more. If something sparks my imagination, I want to learn how to make it myself. As a result, I’ve accrued a wide variety of skills to take on almost any project.

My first ongoing art project was a weekly comic strip for The Brock Press newspaper. From 2004 to 2009, The Life of Joe ran for over 100 strips, and ignited my passion for print and physical media. In 2010, I started working at Brock University as the primary designer for the undergraduate Student Recruitment office. Through my job, I’ve been able to shape the design of nearly all future student print pieces, along with Brock’s presence a countless large-scale events ― Niagara Falls Comic-Con, Fan Expo, and the Ontario Universities’ Fair, to name a few.

When my son was born in 2013, I produced 12 illustrated album covers for his nursery wall. I took some of me and my wife’s favourite records, and illustrating their covers in a Little Golden Books/children’s book style. What started as some nursery decoration has morphed into an ongoing art project that was on display at Mahtay Cafe in September 2019.

In September 2021, I participated in my first artist market in Downtown St. Catharines, and have pushed myself to produce more, bigger, and varied art ever since. I’ve created a wide variety of St. Catharines/Niagara based art ― prints and posters of local birds and landmarks, pennants for The Garden City, Niagara Falls, and interesting locations around Niagara ― culminating in the ongoing Hidden St. Catharines project.

The first incarnation of Hidden St. Catharines was showcased at the 2022 In The Soil Arts festival, with hand-made metal signs and each organization’s history displayed on a custom-built Welcome to Hidden St. Catharines sign and planter box. The challenge of producing a large-scale public art installation was thrilling, and shortly after the festival closed, the wheels started spinning for further extensions of Hidden St. Catharines, and ultimately an installation of the entire project at an art gallery.

I try to make something every day ― drawing, painting, sewing, woodworking, or simply planning out new projects to take on. Getting involved with the art community in St. Catharines is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I hope to continue pushing my art forward into new and exciting areas for as long as possible.