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Ever After 

There's a new art walk in town, and this time, it's personal

Rivalries make everything fun. Take baseball, for example, or teenage “horror” films with fans divided between team emo boy and team sizzling abs.

- GIRLY ’STACHES :  Katrina Dorsey and Sarah Gasch donned fancy facial hair in honor of Pete Ljepava’s mustache-inspired art. -  - PHOTO BY NICK POWELL
  • PHOTO BY NICK POWELL
  • GIRLY ’STACHES : Katrina Dorsey and Sarah Gasch donned fancy facial hair in honor of Pete Ljepava’s mustache-inspired art.

Whenever anything gets a little predictable—like, say, a monthly event that uses free wine to showcase established artists and sell heaps of inoffensive landscapes to wealthy professional types and tourists—all you’ve got to do is add a little healthy competition, and blammo! The all-powerful, invisible hand of good ol’ American capitalism steps in to spice things up and save the day.

That’s how San Luis Obispo’s Last Friday was born. It’s a new city-wide art walk that haphazardly attempts to answer the question on some (probably young and sneering) lips: How come art walks have to be so freaking pretentious and boring?

“I hope it’s a revolution in that people can take it less seriously,” said Neal Breton, art monkey and owner of San Luis Art Supply, who organized the affair. “This is less about selling stuff and more about supporting friends.”

That sounds nice on paper, but I wanted to see what Last Friday really had to offer. My buddy Mark and I hit the streets, and our first stop was Dr. Cain’s Comics and Games, for reasons that were entirely not nerdy.

- ART AND DONUTS :  Last Friday organizer Neal Breton said sex, drugs, and rock and roll were already taken, so he opted for art, beer, and donuts. Pictured are Sharaya Olmed’s photos. -  - PHOTO BY NICK POWELL
  • PHOTO BY NICK POWELL
  • ART AND DONUTS : Last Friday organizer Neal Breton said sex, drugs, and rock and roll were already taken, so he opted for art, beer, and donuts. Pictured are Sharaya Olmed’s photos.

We were greeted with plenty of comics, a friendly photographer, and some donuts classily cut into quarters and stabbed with toothpicks for easy eating. The photographer’s name was (and probably still is) Sharaya Olmed, and this was her first real show. She takes pictures of urban environments riddled with graffiti and pastes them to frames made of recycled furniture.

“I love graffiti, but most times, it gets painted over,” Olmed said. “These pictures let people take it home where it will last forever.”

Olmed’s wasn’t the only show steeped in graffiti that night. The next spot we scoped was Kreuzberg Book Bar and Coffee Lounge, where Isaac Yorke’s work was displayed.

Yorke developed his artistic chops by painting over spray-painted names and crude tags with his own elaborate cartoons. His show at Kreuzberg featured work that built on that same foundation.

- DOPPLEGANGERS! :  When carbon copies Mark Mayes and Neal Breton met, the resulting rift in space-time produced an art walk called “Last Friday”—and also pomegranate monsters. -  - PHOTO BY NICK POWELL
  • PHOTO BY NICK POWELL
  • DOPPLEGANGERS! : When carbon copies Mark Mayes and Neal Breton met, the resulting rift in space-time produced an art walk called “Last Friday”—and also pomegranate monsters.

“What I did here was take pictures of places where things ought to be, and then I filled that empty space with my characters,” he explained.

Essentially, he vandalized his own photographs with cartoon characters, creating images that blend reality with hallucinations. Trippy, right?

Down the road, Erica Hamilton displayed her paintings of a made-up mythology at H & G Clothing. She said she found Christianity a bit silly and wanted to invent her own deities.

In keeping with the night’s theme of respect for established traditions, the next show featured a bunch of Julian Small Calvillo’s sketches of SLOPD officers in compromising positions (e.g. eating donuts, tazing innocent bystanders, and kissing one another). There was even a cardboard cut-out with head holes so the whole family could pose for photos as corrupt cops. How sweet!

“I’ll never look at public safety officials the same way again,” said Eric Greening, an enthused observer.

- KISSING COPPERS :  Julian Small Calvillo reportedly extended personal invitations to several local police departments, encouraging officers to enjoy his cop-themed art displayed at Coalition. -  - PHOTO BY NICK POWELL
  • PHOTO BY NICK POWELL
  • KISSING COPPERS : Julian Small Calvillo reportedly extended personal invitations to several local police departments, encouraging officers to enjoy his cop-themed art displayed at Coalition.

At Tigerlily Salon, things were somehow sillier as artist Pete Ljepava celebrated all things mustache. His paintings revolved around that wonderful facial foliage, and he even supplied mustache-shaped cookies and stick-on ’staches so everyone could join the fun. He served “Generic Beer,” a brand I’d never heard of, though it tasted familiar, like watered-down cat piss, and the can looked suspiciously similar to PBR with a homemade label pasted on top.

 I missed most of the night’s musical acts (had to take a delicious barbecue sandwich break), but I did catch Brook Thompson, who played an acoustic show at SLO Donut Co. for Last Friday’s after party. To be honest, the after affair was less party and more casual get together over coffee and donuts, but it was still nice, you know, if you’re into chatting with down-to-earth artists.

As the night wound down, Yorke left the donut shop, thanking Breton for the chance to show his work and asking him to tell the other artists he said good bye.

“Hey, Pete!” yelled Breton. “Isaac says you suck!”

Oh, Neal. Always the rabble-rouser.

Last Friday’s Last Friday was my last Last Friday until next Last Friday. Mark your calendar for npowell@newtimesslo.com.

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