My parents were powerful and inspiring people. Mother, Natalie Babbitt (Tuck Everlasting), a celebrated children’s book author, played the piano well, drew lush, elaborate illustrations in her (over 40) published books. She wrote music, built elaborate dollhouses, staged little plays with her hand-carved, working marionettes clad in hand-sewn period costumes... Father, Samuel Babbitt, while an ambitious academic (President and co-founder of Kirkland College, VP at Brown, after stints as a Dean at Yale and Vanderbilt), he acted, wrote books, plays, and music, alongside his creative wife. Upon “retirement,“ he became a professional stage actor for two full decades. These are can-do creative people who never seemed to think they couldn’t do a thing… so they kinda did it all.
I followed this lead and became a singer, songwriter, composer and arranger; an electric guitarist and bass player; an animator and film editor (“The Something,” Winner, 2014 AI-AP Motion Arts Awards) and music video director, actor and editor (“Tell Me” Best Music Video, LA Film Awards). I studied at MassArt in Boston, and worked as a Senior Art Director for 2 decades - before going back to school to become a licensed Psychotherapist in private practice, now going on 20 years.
All these little tendrils and overlapping creative circles and inquiries emerge from a single source-point, really - I've never seen them as separate from one another. And one's "shortcomings" (for all of us) turn out to be assets in the end - in the sense that they are like a signature, ragged and flowing and perfect/imperfect. I've always deliberately distorted and skewed the human form - like in the margins of a math book in school - and saw this as a shortcoming, a "laziness," then blamed myself for being undisciplined. I am impatient (restless?), it's true, but the new work flips these “flaws” into assets to be exploited - where I actually champion becoming absorbed in a cheekbone or jaw line, seeing it as an opportunity for invention - and allowing myself to follow where it leads.
In this new work, each facet of a painted face or body can flow from 2D to 3D, from rough sketch to collage, from paint to colored pencil… A bit of a free-jazz visual “playground" for me. The characters in these paintings have a lot of life tattooed into them: their stories, their secrets, random scraps of memory half-remembered... Dreamscapes, jokes, snippets from pop culture, random phrases... I don't know what they mean anymore than you do - but somehow they're familiar. Even as they feel alien - welcome to your inner self? Clearly, each us encompasses worlds within worlds - and this becomes the story of us.
I hope you can find yourself in these pictures somewhere - it's okay to look - we all emerge from the same inky black, shining our signature white light.