Arts & Culture

Hidden Talent with Jeff Badger

Charcoal Owl Photo by Jeff Badger

The co-chair of the art department at SMCC is artist and musician, Jeff Badger. In our interview he shared some insights around being a musician, being an artist and being a department chair.
In the following interview, reporter Keannah Breault asks Jeff Badger, How he creates unique and creative compositions for his band Custard Paws & Mr. Freezy.
I want to bring attention to the incredible artistry and musical talent of this band, far too often talent like this unfortunately goes unnoticed.

KB: Tell us all a little bit about yourself, and the work you do.
JB: I’m Jeff Badger, an artist and educator based in Maine. I exhibit my own artwork, curate exhibitions and international art exchanges, and create freelance illustration and comics. I am also a recording and performing musician and an enthusiastic fan of the outdoors. I’m the co-chair of the Fine Arts Department at SMCC.

KB: Badger uses dozens of incredible skills in his field of work that has presented him with unique experiences and opportunities. A successful career in tow, he has managed to balance his work and maintain a fan base.
JB: I try to maintain a good life/work balance that includes time for friends and family, outdoor activities like hiking, and my creative pursuits. I used to take on freelance work, but I’ve found that being a professor gives me the freedom to only take on projects that are personal or collaborations that I’m excited about. […] Collaborating with other people on music and art projects is a great way to keep momentum going and build accountability into your work.

KB: Jeff Badgers art is used as the base of his music videos, one video in particular uses charcoal art it is Titled “Secret Friends” – Custardpaws & Mr. Freezy and has a duration of two minutes and Fifty-nine seconds. In this video he explained during the interview his process.
JB: I shot that video using a DLSR camera on a tripod, shooting a piece of 18” x 24” Bristol Board pinned to the wall. The video has about 3000 frames.
For each frame I updated the drawing by drawing and erasing the charcoal on the same piece of paper, so it is more like a stop-motion […] I used iMovie and set the frame rate to 10fps, […]. I’ve tried other stop motion animation programs but found iMovie to be the easiest to work with, though I’d like to keep experimenting.

KB: Jeff Badger started working at Southern Maine Community College in 2008 and became Co-Chair in 2010 when the Art Department split from the AED Department.
His newest single “The Kids Don’t Care About Guitars Anymore”, is now available on streams and local radio. In fact fans that follow on Instagram are eligible to win a vinyl copy of Window Weather. It should be highly encouraged to follow and support the hard work that’s being done. Their Instagram is @custardpawsandmrfreezy, and features their music, artwork, and other creations that can be exhibited. By visiting his official website you can see artwork is listed for sale.

KB: What was your occupation before working at SMCC?
JB: Right after college, where I double-majored in English and Fine Arts, I worked as a graphic designer in New York City for a few years. My wife and I moved to Maine, where I found myself doing lots of different jobs to make ends meet. This included working on staff at Maine College of Art and volunteering at a new arts venue called SPACE, where I would later serve as the first Gallery Director. While in my low-residency graduate MFA program at AIB in Boston, I also worked at Whitney Art Works gallery, Portland Press Herald, […], and as an adjunct at MassArt and SMCC before taking the full-time teaching position at SMCC. I even worked as a mascot, playing Oakie the Oakhurst Acorn!

KB: The album Window Weather, created by Blair Wells and Jeff Badger was released back in April of 2021. This album was recorded remotely, The first song “All I Want To Do (Is Leave The House)” came out at the beginning of the pandemic, over the course of a year they recorded the rest. Custardpaws & Mr. Freezy has been in operation since 1994. Window Weather features eleven songs that were inspired by the global pandemic. Unrestricted by genre their album exhibits various styles for all listeners. Anyone could find what fits their personality best, no-one is left out. New Wave dance pop, acoustic blues, and rock are just some of the styles they cover. The combined creative talents of Jeff Badger and Blair Wells are what makes Custardpaws & Mr. Freezy possible, they love their work. Music can be a life changing experience for those that make and listen to it. It is their expression of the soul’s inner light.

Categories: Arts & Culture

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