Artist Highlights of First Friday

Tegan Bradley, Liberal Studies

Walk down Congress Street on the first of any Friday of the month and you will

be greeted by droves of people crowding down the narrow city sidewalks to support

amazing local artists. And yet, people rarely take this opportunity to connect with the

vibrant characters the art walk attracts.

One such character is Ryan Seymour, a nine year old violin paying hula hoopist.

“He loves to perform,” commented his mother as she stood beside her talented son.

They come out on the streets of Portland together as an outlet for the creative passion

Ryan hopes will one day become a part of his career. He mentioned that he wanted to

be a performer, and to help him gain more skills, Ryan attends circus camp. The

earnings he gets from his side performances go to help support the cost of the circus

camp. So next time you’re out and about on First Friday, you might just have the

opportunity to help support this budding artist.

Another artist, Aaron Canfijn, is fairly new to displaying his paintings in public,

mainly due to how personal they are because, in fact, Aaron paints his dreams. This

may seem boring to some considering that many artists adapt components of their

dreams into their work. But ask yourself, have you ever heard of someone having a

boring dream? No. If you answered yes to that, good for you. But every dream is

unique, as is every story behind it.

Aaron went on to explain some elements represented in his paintings, the most

prominent one being the clash of cultures: East meets West. His multicultural heritage

has a deep impact on his daily life, causing it to seep past his conscious self into his

unconscious thoughts. Many Eastern images and symbols are shown at odds with

Western norms, such as yin and yang presented next to a KFC menu item, the Double

Down. This particular painting had a well-balanced combination of beauty and comedy.

Another recurring theme is a white rabbit. Aaron made no mention of Lewis

Carroll’s novel Alice in Wonderland, but it does seem both have a connection of the

white rabbit’s duality in the dream world: how it can guide you through its bizarre twist

and turns, but in itself leaving you with unanswered questions.

Aaron also mentioned that all of the paintings are unfinished, because the

dreams never get a chance to end. “I just like dreams,” he said. “They’re not finished,

because they’ll always keep speaking to you.” And a lot of the time he feels dreams are

better left a mystery, because putting something so fluid and interpretable into concrete

can cause problems in a person’s life.

Both of these artists were amazingly fun to get to know. And every artist that

attends First Friday should have the opportunity to share their stories. So get out there!

Go have fun, buy things that will mean something to you forever, from artists who will

never cease to be spectacular. Support them and get to know them. There’s an

inspiring story waiting to be told behind every work of art.ArtWalk(ArtsFeatures)

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