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Posts Tagged ‘Socialization’

Quick ? for Matthew Budden

In Interviews > ?s For Others on 01/09/2010 at 07:32

When I look at the Baby Head paintings of Vancouver artist Matthew Budden I wonder:

Do babies enter the world as ‘blank slates’ waiting for society to mold them and leave impressions, or do they enter the world as ‘old souls’ with history and experience already behind them?

I posed the question to Mr. Budden.  Here’s what he said:


Maybe it varies from baby to baby, but the baby I raised certainly seemed like an old soul determined to follow a very particular path right from day one. However, images of babies can be thought of as something like blank slates.

Baby pictures interested me because they were so iconic and open to potential meaning. They could be painted any way the painting wanted to go. The key was to bring a baby head painting to a point where it obviously signified ‘some thing’, without thinking about it too much. Some of the painted babies are beautiful, some benign, and some bear the scars of a lifetime.

Now that the series is done I can look back and think a bit more about the unconscious impulses that may have been at work when I was painting—personal issues about fatherhood or aging, as well as bigger concerns about the wisdom of bringing a child into this world. The more horrific baby heads were almost certainly informed by images of suffering children in Northern Uganda I’d seen a couple of years before starting the series.

It may surprise you to know that when I started the Baby Head paintings I had no intention of making a comment about babies or babydom.


To view the Baby Head series in its entirety, visit Matthew Budden’s website here.

Image © Matthew Budden