Vertigo Coffee Roasters celebrated its new featured monthly artist Saturday, June 7 with artwork from Bryan E. West and music by Dave and the Kids. Attendees could be seen talking to West throughout the event, enjoying music on the patio with friends, or ordering food and beverages. West's art will be on display at Vertigo throughout the month.
Manager Ryan Morris explained that Vertigo hosts an opening reception once a month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to highlight a new artist whose work will be on display for the chosen month. Opening receptions often also have a second form of entertainment on-site, whether that be a DJ or band. The band Dave and the Kids performed at Saturday’s event.
Miguel Silva, member of Dave and the Kids, said the band volunteered to play the event upon hearing that their friend Bryan would be the featured artist. Playing a mash of songs from styles such as punk rock and R&B, Silva and fellow bandmate CeCe Rojas praised Vertigo for creating a place for local artists to express themselves.
“Given the political climate, having a local place to let Bryan and other artists share their art is important,” Silva stated.
Describing his art as “candy-colored transgressions”, West had bright, colorful pieces on display that featured his political viewpoints.
“I have strong political opinions, but I want it to be light,” West said. “I really like this idea of making something accessible with bright colors that also has some edge to it.”
Fourteen-year-old Alfredo Vasquez, who came to Vertigo after seeing an advertisement about Saturday’s event, was drawn to West’s work for these reasons.
“I like the political piece of it,” Vasquez said. “It’s [West’s art] relatable because it’s kind of controversial. I think it’s important to have an artist like him because he is local and most people don’t display their artwork for the public to see like he does.”
People in attendance also expressed a desire to come to Saturday’s event due to the environment created by Vertigo.
“I love the vibe and Vertigo’s delicious coffee,” Marley Martinez of San Juan Bautista said. “I love the art and the music.”
Alisa Kurt, West’s sister, shared Martinez’s sentiment when talking about Vertigo, the music, and her brother’s work.
"I really love this space,” Kurt said. “I would have loved having this local place with good food, coffee, and music growing up. I like the 90s throwback in my brother’s art. Some of the art is challenging by itself, but there is also work that is light.”
Saturday’s event also drew people from outside of San Benito County.
Victor V. De la Rocha of Salinas is a customer of Vertigo who also follow’s West’s work on Instagram.
“I came because I love Vertigo,” De la Rocha said. “They are very welcoming and are doing something to curate the arts. I also came to see Bryan who is very creative and has a unique voice.”
West may have summed up the sentiment of the evening best: “You need to have some type of diversity in your culture. If you don’t have any biodiversity your town’s going to fail. Giving these individual artists a place to sell their work and get exposure is beneficial for everyone."
More information on West's artwork can be found on his website.
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