One of Seattle's most prolific painters is a 57-year-old homeless man who sells his work next to Dick's Drive-In on Broadway. You can also find Darryl Ary making and selling paintings while seated in a wheelchair outside of City Market on Bellevue Avenue, covered in paint from head to toe. He's usually engaging and friendly, happy to discuss his life and his art. His paintings are so affordable that they're difficult not to buy, and his main supporter owns between 500 and 600 pieces. Ary typically uses Wite-Out, house paint, and markers on irregularly shaped found wood. His paintings often seem frantic and untamed, with a subtle hint of humor. Ary has been painting on the streets of Seattle since 1994 and is currently preparing for his second public show at Queen Anne's Solo Bar, opening May 10. Titled There Is Arrogance in the Passion of Blue, the show will be a mixture of new work and past work on loan from current owners. The original plan was for 100 percent current work, but it seems that Ary has trouble not selling the pieces as soon as they're created in public. "I have to collect them as soon as he finishes them," said show curator Amelia Bonow. "Otherwise, they sell on the street right away."
Ary's art training is scant, aside from a substitute high-school teacher in San Francisco who initially sparked his interest. He considers Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso to be his main influences. "The idea for paintings, for me, is you want to have something that people want to look at for hours." Ary recently discussed some of the pieces in his upcoming show.
When the Devil Eat Out, He Eats at Dick's (created outside of City Market)
"That painting was just to get people to laugh. The sexual connotation of Dick's can also mean a man's sexual organ, and I decided to go to the temptation of when the devil eats out, he eats at Dick's!"
Finding the Island (created on Capitol Hill)
"This is a location, right here, dealing with the possibility of finding missing kids. The reason why you see the O O O, these are the symbols for missing. But it's also binary code. You know, there are eight digits in a binary code, correct? Using someone's identification number to find a location, maybe on an island somewhere. Do you know that if there was an Al Qaeda terrorist and I had his DNA, just by his DNA, I could find out where all of his family members are around the world."
A Painter in France (created in the International District)
"This one is called A Painter in France. If you look at it, it kind of looks like a painter in France. I kind of paint like a sculptor. I kind of mold it and then I title it later."
A Frog Coming Out of the Mud (created on Capitol Hill)
"Okay, it's kind of like a frog creature coming out of the mud. I wouldn't say that I've spent a lot of time in nature. I symbolize frogs with the story of the princess kissing the frog and turning it into a prince. This painting is not about that."
Ary (created in the International District)
"This painting is my arrogance. I'm a water sign; I'm born in Pisces but my name is Arys. So it's kind of a prank on the zodiac sign Aries the ram. So my last name is Arys, so I have Ary the ram. I believe there's a lot of truth to everything. I believe there's some truth to astrology. For this art show, I'm mainly trying to stay with red, blue, and pink. Because of the passion, you have to have a little pink, plus a little red."
Three Blind Mice (created in the International District)
"For this one, I just wanted to do something unique. I was low on supplies at the time, so I decided to do three blind mice, just something to really work with the size of the wood that I had. I really wanted it to stand out. This one is pretty new, just like two weeks or something like that. Painting is my only source of income. I paint every day."