Making the rounds on First Friday

A piece from the Felix Kulpa Gallery's "R.A.W (Recycled Art Works)" exhibition.

Warmer weather (hint, hint, Mother Nature) makes Santa Cruz’s First Friday art walk all the more enjoyable, and May’s is no exception, from sculpture and photography to a thought-provoking exhibition on home and homelessness, painting in many shades and a whole lot more.

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First Friday is always a good time in Santa Cruz, but the monthly art walk becomes especially fun when the weather gets warmer (though, after this week, I’m not sure winter is ever going to go away).

So, where to go this First Friday? Well, it’s always an intriguing trip to visit the Felix Kulpa sculpture garden, right behind Streetlight Records downtown (and now owned and operated by the Streetlight folks). The Kulpa presents “R.A.W.,” a show of art made from recycled and discarded material from many of Santa Cruz County’s most captivating minds, including Rose Sellery, Geoffrey Nelson, Angela Gleason, Jody Alexander, Joy Schendledecker and many more.

You might also want to stick your head into the shop Madison James, on Locust Street across from the ID Building, where you’ll get to experience an artist’s eye view of Santa Cruz from photographer Brittany Ann.

Maybe you’ve already experienced something from the project “What’s Home?” that explores the concept of home, particularly in how it intersects in the gaps between housed people and unhoused people. The Radius Gallery at the Tannery is showing the work of six artists on the subject.

One of my favorite local artists is Aptos illustrator and portraitist John McKinley, well-known for his winking wry humor in his paintings of people and animals. Go breathe deeply of the McKinley aesthetic at Big Basin Vineyards Tasting Room & Wine Bar, down on the beach end of lower Pacific Avenue.

And, as if his show was titled by a 10-year-old boy, painter Tyler Benjamin Speas presents “Guts and Stuff” at the Little Giant Collective space on River Street in the galleria near Mobo Sushi. Speas uses inks and acrylics to produce evocative and psychedelic imagery built around a specific idea of what “guts” means. In his case, it means ribbons of candy-colored organic shapes that are no way gross or off-putting. It’s trippy stuff. I mean, you do want to see stuff you haven’t seen before, right?

"Just Guts" by Tyler Benjamin Speas.

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