Bakersfield is not only growing in size and population but since First Friday, a monthly art event, has been held this town’s artistic culture has been growing as well. Painters, drawers, musicians and craftspeople have been collecting downtown on Eye Street to display and sell their work.
On the first Friday of every month, people gather in front of various shops around the Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar to celebrate creativity. Paintings using all forms of media adorn foldaway picnic tables, homemade jewelry are on display and music could be heard from Chester Ave.
Marc Core often attends this event to sell Chainmaile armor and jewelry along with his friend, Carlos Rubio, who shares the same hobby. “This was commissioned,” Core points to a large chainmail vest, “It’s almost done.” Core also pointed to smaller, more elegant pieces he called macromaile. “I usually sell a lot of these. Women typically like the bracelets and earrings but a lot of guys wear the larger bracelets.”
A variety of rings are used for their craft. Some bracelets are large enough to be decorated with large strips of ribbon or leather. Others like the necklace pendants and earrings are made with “macromaile” or tiny rings no bigger than the hole of a Cheerio. Most macromaile is sold based on the complexity of the work. Core explains how he decides to price his work based on the effort he used to create the piece. “Most of the jewelry is sold around $15, the armor is much more expensive.”
Rubio is currently working on a different chainmail project. He wears a heavy scalemail bracer that appears similar to the scales of a snake. “Scalemail is really neat. It looks sleek and masculine.” Rubio was introduced to the craft through his friend, Marc. Both men display and sell their work together every month.
Many local artists contribute to the event like Core and Rubio. Paintings from every genre and media are on display. Artists often set up their easels and offer to paint a fresh work or doodle caricatures to potential customers. When waiting for customers, it’s not uncommon to see men and women behind their collections creating more jewelry to sell.
Along with viewing and purchasing wonderful works of art, visitors to the First Friday event can eat dinner at a number of delicious restaurants. Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar serves Asian cuisine at affordable prices. The Mark and Sandrinni’s is also in the same area. One can also visit Dagny’s coffee shop for an after dinner cup of coffee.
Artists like Core and Rubio really enjoy the monthly gathering. Not many have such an opportunity to display their hard work. It has also inspired creativity in others. “I really enjoy the atmosphere at First Friday,” says Core. “It’s also really nice to get a little extra money from doing something I enjoy.”