For many students, managing school, recreation, and work is a balancing act, and for one fine arts student this act is performed on a unicycle.
“It’s my favorite way of moving because every time I look at somebody, there’s a smile on their face,” said Garrett White.
The tall, bearded student enjoys the chatter of students watching him ride by as he pedals across campus on his unicycle. “I can be a conversation starter without ever even talking to anyone and just riding by,” he said.
“Nobody can just pick it up and ride it,” said White, who occasionally spots students attempting to ride his unicycle when he leaves it out in the library.
White was introduced to unicycling by one of his close friends, Leandro Sacco, whose parents met through playing unicycle hockey.
White has been unicycling for three years now. It took White nearly a month just to learn how to ride a unicycle. “You just keep on riding and keep on doing it and eventually it catches on from memory,” he said. “I remember it taking four weeks just not being able to make it five pedals.”
His trademark is not only shown with one wheel around campus, but with two sides in his artwork. White, who is a painter, said, “Showing an objective side and a subjective side shows a form that we normally we don’t see and when we see that, we continue that process of making things.”
White started at Hudson Valley as a Computer Information Systems major three years ago but ultimately decided it wasn’t the future he wanted. “That just kind of showed a future of my life that I did not want to get into,” he said.
Before White discovered his passion, he said, his life was pedalling in the wrong direction. “I was just kind of getting into trouble on the outside and then I realized, if I continue doing this, it won’t lead me down the right path,” he said.
White learned about Hudson Valley’s fine arts program through his older brother and witnessed how the program affected him. “I saw how much it actually changed him and how much he enjoyed it, so I gave it a go.”
Starting off slowly in the program, White said he was not a top student but progressed over time. “I made this big change and thought, ‘Holy shit, I want to do this for the rest of my life,’” White said.
This semester, White will be wheeling away from Hudson Valley, moving on to making art from home while juggling two jobs and possibly attending an artists’ retreat for graduate students. In the meantime, White said, he seldom leaves the art room without being recognized as “the unicycle dude.”
“When I’ve rode out the past few times, just riding around campus, people have yelled at me, ‘Hey, unicycle dude!’” White said.