Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Noé Badillo, and I was born in a small surfing town called Ensenada in Baja California, Mexico in 1978. I am a professional artist, a PhD student in art history at Arizona State University, a husband to my beautiful wife Elizabeth and a father of two amazing boys, Elliot and Griffin.
How did you get your start?
I have been a practicing artist since I was fifteen, when I started studying photography in high school. That was in 1994, over twenty years ago. In college I began studying drawing and painting, but where I really learned art is as an apprentice of an incredible artist named Osvaldo Romberg. In his studio, I learned classical painting by master copying, drafting, and lots of brilliant things about theoretical and conceptual art.
What inspires you?
Since I got married, the subject of my paintings has been primarily my wife, as well as my two sons. I would say that they are my deepest source of inspiration. I also learn a great deal by being an artist who is also a scholar of art history. The way that art historians learn to read images and interpret them, and study the conscious development of art throughout the ages influences how I approach my own work.
What do you like about AZ?
I love when it rains here, which of course it doesn’t do enough. I was raised in Seattle, and I miss the damp, gloomy weather. It’s weird, because my mood goes up when it’s rainy. But I also love other things about Arizona, like hiking in the desert, the wildflowers in springtime, the light in the canyons, things like that. And I particularly love the large monsoon clouds and thunderheads. For my birthday this year, I’m going to ask for a Plein Air Easel, and go out and paint outside.
Where can we see you(r) work?
You can see a good deal of my work on my website: noebadillo.com. Anyone is also welcome to do a studio visit, which I recommend, because people have told me that they really couldn’t get a sense of my work from images online. Feel free to contact me through my site. I also have a piece in the permanent collection of the Latino Museum in Los Angeles.
What would you like to accomplish before you die?
I would like to become a full professor at a university, and to have works in major museum collections someday. I would also like to write books that make advancements in my field. But even more so, I think the most important accomplishment for me will be to be there for my wife and kids, and to figure out a way to really help other people somehow. I’ve thought that if I ever have the extra money, I would like to start a program for starving artists, to supply them with a monthly stipend for food and supplies. I’ve been a very poor artist myself, and I think it is important to recognize that artists need support.
What is your mantra?
To focus on beauty uplifts my soul. To fixate my attention on my wife’s beautiful face, and to struggle to express it in the multifaceted ways that it appears at different angles or in different light, allows me to feel whole. I paint and I work to gain a grasp of something solid, something real and tangible, that allows me to know that life has true meaning.
For more on Noé Badillo, follow his Facebook page here.