In September of 2015 former Sputnik staff Chandler Berardi and Meghan Gauvin interviewed the owner of the Starving Artist Gallery Café, Christina Hajiioannou, about opening up her business last year in the heart of downtown Brantford.
Having been open less than a year, it’s heartwarming to see people coming in and enjoying what the Starving Artist has to offer. When asked about how her business has changed and developed in the last year, Hajiioannou was very enthused about how regulars of the café have now become friends of her’s and the other staff.
She went on to explain, “We’ve developed a really nice community, but I find that, now that’s it’s after Christmas, we’re actually getting different people coming in. So, now we’re getting brand new faces that have never come in before, which is amazing because we can hopefully create a little community with them as well.”
With her business, Hajiioannou not only brings great food (grilled cheese!), but more artistic culture to Brantford as well. Having previously lived in Toronto, Hajiioannou was very involved in the art scene, “When I came to Brantford, I really felt like a lacking of that [art]. I felt a little bit empty because I wasn’t in touch with that culture, and the dynamics of a big city. So, I just always had it in my head that I wanted to open up something in Brantford.”
The Starving Artist gives home to all sorts of artists. Musicians in need of a venue to play in can perform for crowds with smiles on their faces and crêpes in their stomachs, like Chris Strei and Cory Mercer, whose played a show covered in the Sputnik back in January.
For photographers and visual artists of all kinds, space can be rented out on the walls, with all proceeds for sales going directly to the artist. Not only does this promote local talent, but it also means the Starving Artist’s walls are constantly changing. Every time you step in, there will be something new. There are sometimes even events where aspiring artists, or people who just enjoy painting for fun, can go and take part in an art class.
With new businesses opening up frequently around town, Brantford is constantly changing. Businesses like the Starving Artist consistently bring new ideas, products and culture to the city of Brantford, so it’s important to embraces these changes, and allow any artistic culture Brantford has to develop and expand.