Adam Hilborn of The Barbershop

Getting a Hair Cut at Barbershop Gallery

Adam Hilborn has great hair. He should - he cuts it himself, and he's pretty good at it.

Adam is one half of kickass design studio Parishil (pronounced Paris Hill - no, not in honour of what's-her-name), located at the back of their Barbershop Gallery in Parkdale, near Roncesvalles. The other half is Alain Parizeau. (Parizeau + Hilborn = Parashil, aha!)

This is our first time checking out The Barbershop. Tim and Derek have written about it on this site before so I've read they have great art, great work, and a barber chair in the gallery that Hilborn is rumoured to put to use from time to time.

We tag along with my friend Dale to his hair appointment and are told that Sylvain can get his hair done after him. Great! When we arrive we see that it is all true - the art, the space, and the great view of Queen and Roncesvalles are all lovely.

It's not at all surprising that people have mistaken the place for a real barbershop, with two barbershop chairs actually visible from the street. As well as the regular chair in the gallery, there's also the big stuffed antique one in the window - the Rolls Royce of all barber chairs.

Adam and Alain are super friendly and chatty guys, and don't seem at all disturbed with our small gang poking around and asking questions. While Adam cuts they guys' hair, I take a look around the gallery. Amazing art is all over the place. Currently there's an exhibit up that makes me want to buy everything in there. Elizabeth Dyer's rich portraits in oil are stunning, and I love the weird and wonderful illustration /collages of Courtney Wotherspoon lining the other wall. Also up are Hilborn's own beautiful life-like pencil illustrations.

The guys tell me to go behind the gallery and have a peek at the small headquarters of Parishil. I have instant space jealousy - they have a silkscreen table and a giant hanging chalkboard that acts as a wall to the studio. There is a painted (screened?) skateboard that Parizeau is designing, and evidence of some pretty serious creativity everywhere.

Later, I sink into the Rolls Royce and join in an ongoing conversation about art, illustration, why design in Montreal rocks, running your own studio, drawing... all the while Adam chops Sylvain's pile of hair down to a short messy cut. Looks sort of like Adam's hair. We dub it 'the Adam'.

When asked where Adam learned to cut hair, he tells me "I have been doing it since I was 9 years old, when I had to teach my barber, Leo, how to do a fade. Although Adam knows a thing or two when it comes to cutting hair, I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to quit his day job with Parishil. Seems he does this purely for the enjoyment.

I point out my own hair in need of a cut - but nope, he is still too scared to do womens' hair, since "women know their hair too well..." Too bad for us, ladies.

NOTE: Barbershop is hosting blogTO's 50 Artists, 50 Photos exhibit as part of the 2009 CONTACT Photography Festival. Come to our opening night party on May 7th.

Photo by Sylvain Dumais

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