First Friday gives a touch of the chills

Gregory D. Cook

Artist Alan Willis poses with a chair he decorated to be auctioned off as a fund raiser at The Foundry on Oct. 13.

Cassandra McGowan, Reporter

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“Fright Sights” was The Foundry’s contribution to Bakersfield’s First Friday on Oct. 7.

The art exhibition featured local artists whose work correlates with the frightfulness of Halloween.

Alan Willis is part owner of The Foundry and an airbrush artist.

Willis had three of his pieces displayed at the event, an airbrushing of Dexter, Hannibal Lecter, and Christian Bale from his role in “American Psycho.”

Willis said he has only been creating art since 2007.

Before becoming an artist, Willis was a painter for 30 years and then designed camouflaged airbrush designs for firearms.  He yearned for something more and said his work on firearms was “like an itch that wasn’t getting scratched.”

Willis said, “49-years-old and not sure where all this comes from yet. I’m a late bloomer in this world.”

Willis also has some of his artwork displayed in the Bakersfield College Veteran’s Center.

There were many other paintings from other artists, like one of a creepy looking kid with snot hanging out of his nose that looked like some sort of alien child.

The display was not packed, but there were just enough people in and out to keep a steady flow of conversation about all the different styles of art within the gallery. There was even a wall dedicated to little handmade masks, necklaces, and various other handmade trinkets.

The Foundry has been in Bakersfield for a year but recently moved from the corner of Chester Avenue and 17th Street to 20th Street right next to Dagny’s Coffee Company.

The gallery is still under construction, so you can only view by appointment or on First Friday, according to The Foundry’s Curator and part owner, Christina Sweet.

Sweet is also a local artist who specializes in acrylic paintings, but did not have any art in this exhibit.

“We encourage new artists to join,” said Sweet.

Sweet explained how calling to set up appointments is the best way to get it done.

The Foundry also has two other part owners, Alan Urquhart who is in graphic design and Darren Powers whose forte is collage.

The next big event the gallery will be holding is “Lost and Foundry,” which is an exhibit in which they are calling upon artists to use their imagination and turn one man’s trash into another man’s treasure. Literally.

The Foundry is asking artists to find old trash and recyclables and create art with it.  There is a $75 prize awaiting the artist with the best piece, and artists can have up to three entries. The deadline to enter your art for this showing is Dec. 16.

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