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