With every foray I make into the First Friday Artwalk on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix, I mull over these questions: Will I feel out of place as a Baby Boomer amid all the “youngsters”? Will I find a parking place? Has anyone painted over the uglier street murals yet? (Sorry, but a lot of it is second-rate graffiti art to me.) And, most important, will I discover a decent art show or two?
My artwalk on Friday, July 6, 2012 — I waited until the evening temperature dipped below 100 degrees — brought mixed answers to these questions. I felt a little less out of place upon seeing a few young families and other Boomers here and there. Parking was not a problem. I actually like a couple of the newer murals. And I did like some of the work by emerging artists at various galleries.
First Friday, I know that it’s going to take you a while to come into the mainstream of Phoenix tourist attractions. That’s OK — many great things had fairly inauspicious beginnings. You are still getting the crowds of teens and college students, creating a funky vibe combining art shows, crafts vendors and live music that makes me feel young again.
Here are a few highlights of my night:
— “Objectify//Psyentifica: New and Past Work by Lee Davis” at Eye Lounge was “humorous/disturbing,” just as Davis promised it would be in his artist’s statement. All I can say about his cartoon-like drawings is that I have a newfound fear of octopuses wielding butcher knives! Details are at Eye Lounge.
— Paintings of nocturnal scenes by Jake Fischer at Modified Arts, probably my favorite gallery on Roosevelt Row. The artist puts your imagination to work, wondering what lies in the dark under those thick layers of black paint. Side note: Why, oh why, did the street musicians across the street from the gallery have to insert the f-word, the n-word and other assaults on the language into every few seconds of their songs? (Uh-oh, showing my age …) The show ends soon; see Modified Arts.
— Vases, plates, wall art and other beautiful glass-blown objects at the new Circle 6 Studios. I was amused by a flier for a Circle 6 class that warns: “Glass blowing is the gateway drug to art.”
— Photographs by Tamea Mikesell at Five15 Arts. She uses a complicated process (which I didn’t fully understand after chatting with her) that involves Fujicolor slides, watercolor paper, scanning, Photoshop and printing. Anyway, I admired the hazy moodiness of her street scenes. Find out more about the gallery at Five15 Arts.
— Capturing the accompanying photo of Lauren Lee at work on the mural near MonOrchid Gallery. You can learn more about her at www.etsy.com/people/loveleeshop
— Mamma Toledo’s food truck! Seriously! The mini-pie was so good. Support this local baker and visit her site at mammatoledo.com
Another trip to First Friday awaits me, but only after Phoenix reclaims its beautiful weather.