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Photo courtesy of Creativision.

Hintonburg swept by beast invasion

By Jared Davidson on June 7, 2016

“It brings you back to when you’re like six or seven,” says Brenda Dunn, local artist and perpetual inner child.

She’s sitting in Ministry of Coffee on Wellington Street West, gesturing towards a small clay figure. His name is Bean, and he is the guardian of this establishment. Bean is one of a crew of miniature misfits that have been appearing in local Hintonburg establishments. Known only as “Hintonbeasts,” these little creatures have found homes in places like the Hintonburg Public House, Purple Cow, Loam Studio and many more. Some have called it an invasion, but those voices have been silenced by an outpouring of generosity and benevolence.

The neighbourhood has welcomed these little guys with open arms. So much has been the outpouring of affection and good-neighbourliness that the beasts will be throwing themselves a reunion at Maker House Co. this Friday June 10. The word is that they’ll all be arriving at around 7pm. This will give everyone a chance to finally see them all in one place and learn more about their bizarre backstories. Bean, for example, is one of the more colourful personalities of the bunch.

“WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!” he says, as Dunn waves at him. He is an intense little fellow. One might call him a fan of the coffee, and of the intoxicating alcoholic beverages.

“IFYOUDRINKCOFFEEBEFOREWORKINGOUTYOUGETJACKED!” he shouts. She smiles at him.

Beside Dunn sits Shawn MacDonell, Founder/Professional Ass Kicker at Creativision. These two are the minds behind Hintonbeasts, an idea that won them an Awesome Ottawa grant, a thousand dollar award given to awesome-makers with which to make awesome in Ottawa. Dunn and MacDonell have been placing Hintonbeasts, these small clay creatures with unique identities, in stores throughout Hintonburg.

As if in as a nod to the legendary television show Pokemon, they’ve designed a game around the Hintonbeasts, allowing Hintonburg goers to “Catch Them All,” finding the hidden monsters in every store they enter. The only clue the gumshoes have at their disposal is a small portrait of the monster and a short description.

“LIFEISPRETTYREAL!”

MacDonell cuts in: “People of all ages get really excited about the beasts,” he says. “It helps to bring back a little memory of your childhood.”

As he watches, a bearded man and his young son point to Bean. “There he is!” says the father. The son agrees.

“IMINVISIBLEANDINAUDIBLE!” says Bean, happy for the attention.

Recently, the Hintonbeast creators held a Monster Maker workshop at Loam, at which Monster Makers (and their Monster Maker Managers) were able to craft their own unique takes on the theme. Our roving reporter Jimmy Manx was there.

“I created one I called Jasper,” Manx said of the event, “but then he got up and dove out the window. I hope I see him at the reunion.”

Until Friday, you can find all the Hintonbeasts in their respective home shops all up and down Wellington and Richmond Road. And if you find one, be sure to give away the location to everyone around you. People like it when things are spoiled for them, trust me.

The Hintonbeast Reunion (Art Show) takes place at Maker House Co. at 987 Wellington St. West from 7-10pm Friday June 10.  

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