The Devil Eats at Dick’s

And Other Messages in Self-Taught Painter Darryl Ary’s Work

The Devil Eats at Dick’s

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." recommended


Comments (18) RSS

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Wanda Fooka 1
Posted by Wanda Fooka on May 9, 2012 at 9:03 AM · Report this
This is gonna be good.
Posted by paulus on May 9, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
If only being a professional painter in Seattle did not often require you to remain homeless.
Posted by imcarey on May 9, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
seanmichaelhurley 4
Darryl is a fabulous painter and a sweetheart of a guy, but he isn't homeless. I hope this fact does not compromise his credibility, as he is totally the real deal.
Posted by seanmichaelhurley http://seanmichaelhurley.blogspot.com on May 9, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Look at show curator Amelia's excellent blog, with photos of Darryl shopping for spray paint!

Posted by Kelly O on May 9, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
Looked over her blog and hope she doesn't ruin him. He is so free and now the art world has gotten hold of him. Damn that art world. She makes me nervous as she chews him up and soon will spit him out.
Posted by rv on May 9, 2012 at 3:47 PM · Report this
I am sure he is a hell of a nice guy, and I am always glad when someone is channeling their creativity (I have seen him around town for years), but... these are not good paintings people. Not even in a naive, folk-arty kind of way.
Posted by Duglas K on May 9, 2012 at 4:24 PM · Report this
rv—no one is chewing and spitting. Amelia is a fan of Darryl's work who happens to book the art that hangs at Solo. That is her connection to the "art world." She asked him if he wanted to show his stuff and he happily accepted. This will give him a chance to sell some pieces at the show and hopefully turn some more people on to his work so that he might make a few more sales down the line. Thats all she wants, thats all he wants. Starving as an artist isn't as romantic as it sounds.

Duglas—I don't know about naive and folk-art, but I own a handful of Darryl's paintings and they are some of the most beautiful things in my world.
Posted by paulus on May 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM · Report this
I thought he was all ready selling on the street? Come on this could be like all the times of discovery by those who care. Like there goes the neighboorhood when the art curators, galleries, move in on the artist and a loft becomes a real estate term. I don't think that you get what I mean about chewing and spitting that the art world does so well. A very long spoon in all these cases is the wise road to go. Going slick isn't. Telling artists to paint, paint, paint for a show isn't. Ah who cares I am way on the east coast and you folks can arty all you wanty.
Posted by rv on May 10, 2012 at 2:39 PM · Report this
One time i was talking to this guy and i asked him, how do you visualize this stuff, and he said that he came from a rich family, and he left it all behind, but then he had some problems, which by changing the subject, i figured he didn't want to talk about, but basically, he taps into his REM sleep while awake, and bam, this is what you get. An explanation beyond this, i could not get, unfortunately.
Posted by BK47 on May 11, 2012 at 6:30 AM · Report this
This shit is not art.... What a bunch of morons. This is fucking awful. This man should really do mankind a favor and burn everything he's ever done. I know highschoolers on acid paint better than this hack. Oh wait.... He's developmentally disabled? That makes sense
Posted by MickIsGod on May 14, 2012 at 3:02 PM · Report this
A documentary on Darryl played in the Seattle International Film Festival last year and in the Seattle True Independent Film Festival this year. Www.coldcoffeepictures.com
Posted by Pathetic pictures on May 14, 2012 at 8:42 PM · Report this
A documentary on Darryl played in the Seattle International Film Festival last year and the Seattle True Independent Film Festival this year. Www.coldcoffeepictures.com
Posted by Pathetic pictures on May 14, 2012 at 8:47 PM · Report this
Huh. Who knew. My wife and I were collectors of Ary's work. Well. Three or four pieces anyway. He's awesome. I'd love to get more. But now, thanks to The Stranger, the price has probably inflated to an outrageous $10-20.
Posted by tkc on May 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
ajbbv 15
so excited to see what he's been up to. never knew his name but recognized his style. picked up 2 pieces yrs ago.
Posted by ajbbv http://www.ajbbv.com on May 18, 2012 at 5:58 PM · Report this
I once interviewed Darryl at the Turf downtown. It was interesting, both being at the Turf and talking to Darryl. I own about ten of his paintings, small and large. I wish that all of us who support him could gather together the money to get him proper medical and dental care; even though he's bright, it's apparent that he suffers. I respect him and his art because he creates something every day and he's out there doing the hustle. He's a hero to me.
Posted by ncc300 on June 8, 2012 at 1:42 PM · Report this
I met Darryl when I lived in Seattle back around 2000. I had walked by and looked at his art for nearly a year on the Ave and always said hi to him. He was a real treat to encounter. One day I stopped to look at his work and decided to buy a piece, he looked at me and said, "you've been coming around here about a year now right?" It was days from the 1yr anniversary of me moving to Seattle. I knew then, I was not just dealing with a nice man, but a top notch mind. We went on to have many conversations, he is a truly wonderful person. Now that I live in Michigan, I have a piece of his work on my desk and think of him often.
Posted by David Wilson on February 5, 2013 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Ah, Darryl. I drove a delivery truck downtown for several years. The first time I met Darryl, I gave him some change for "paints for an artist." In a few months, I started to buy some of his paintings to help him out and because I sort of liked his work. Then I began to REALLY like his work and bought more. (It drove my wife crazy...I didn't tell her many I had in the garage!) After a remodel of my kitchen, I took him some solid oak cabinet doors, a few at a time. Of course I had to buy some back after he painted them.
The names he gave his works made them more personal, too. I tried to write those names on the back, right where he signed his name and date.
Posted by Clownn on March 17, 2013 at 12:01 AM · Report this

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