First Friday filled with art

First+Friday+filled+with+art

Kevin Gardner’s various artwork on display at First Friday. First Friday happens each month in downtown Bakersfield.

Rhiannon Stroberg, Reporter

First Friday is a local event in which every first Friday of the month Bakersfield artists get the opportunity to showcase and sell their art.

It’s free for the public to attend, however the artists have to pay a $25 fee in order to showcase their work. BC Students Kevin Gardner, Albert Vargas, and Omar Jacinto team up each month and split the cost of the fee in order for them to all have a chance to display their artwork.

Gardner, 22, who goes by his artistic name KG the Octopus, began painting at a young age and has been featured in magazines such as Rebel Ink and Bakersfield’s local art magazine Project Oh! Gardner also does speed drawings on YouTube and has been recognized by many musicians who appreciate his artwork.

Vargas, 23, whose artistic name is Nimak, started drawing when he was 13, but began doing body paint in 2012 and later moved to canvas. Vargas also has a YouTube channel in which he shows many of his artwork.

Jacinto, 22, whose art name Omarvel was spawned by Marvel comics, claims that his inspiration came from Vargas. He liked to paint and he decided that he wanted to expand his artistic abilities by attending an art class at BC as well as painting more often.

All three young men would like to start an art club for local artists in hopes of expanding the art community throughout Bakersfield.

Another artist Ester Rodriguez, who makes unique works of art out of VHS tape, states that she started selling her art at First Friday in June of 2014.

“I like to recycle things and I thought it’d be a great idea to use old, unused VHS tapes to make something different,” said Rodriguez.

She also makes wallets out of cassette tapes and she plans on expanding her business online when she is able to produce more items.

Tessa McQueen, a jewelry maker, has been selling her jewelry at First Friday for the past four months.

“With jewelry, there is a lot of competition. I wanted to make something different, something kind of unique, so I looked online and saw these little interesting anklets that reminded me of gypsy women and I decided that I wanted to make them,” said McQueen.

Miranda Whipple and Jessica Ousley were among the many people to stop at McQueen’s jewelry table in which Whipple expressed that her favorite thing about First Friday is the handcrafted material. Ousley stated that she loves the atmosphere, the artists, and just being able to see what every artist is capable of doing.

“The cool thing about First Friday is that there is a diverse group of people who group together and that it’s also cool meeting new people who appreciate artwork as much as you do, “said BC student Rose Marie.

“And it’s Friday,” Marie’s friend Dyamon Webster added.

Former BC student Carlos Fierro said, “First Friday is supposed to be an open art gallery to the public to create artistic culture amongst the Bakersfield community.” Fierro, who started selling his artwork at First Friday in 2012, said that he started creating art as a kid but expanded his practices while attending BC because the art classes he attended really opened his mind.

Fierro’s friend, Pat Spurlock, who is a band promoter and an artists, said, “Art has always been around, whether it’s drawing or painting.”

Spurlock states that his main goal is to combine both the Bakersfield art scene and the music scene. Spurlock also said that he enjoys First Friday not only because he gets to meet new people who share a mutual interest, but also because, “As a band promoter, it is easier to book a show than to find a place to show and present my art.”

The atmosphere at First Friday is comparable to a small carnival without the rides. Everyone looks to be enjoying him or herself as they walk around looking at various works of art. Whether it is paintings, jewelry, or knitted items, Fun Friday is a way to show appreciation and support towards the creative minds that make this event possible.