Kate Endle and Chris Ballew are a very talented couple who you’ll be able to meet at the ArtWalk this weekend. They’re both successful artists using different mediums to express themselves. Endle creates patchwork collages on canvas, cards and prints, and she has authored two board books for kids. Ballew is a recording artist who is known by many as the lead singer of The Presidents of the United States of America, and by parents as Caspar Babypants.
Endle’s favorite thing to create is owls.
Endle started as a painter but transitioned to a new style after a meeting with Dale Chihuly. Endle was invited to show the glass artist her portfolio, “We had such a nice visit together!” she recalls. After the meeting he gave her a box of acrylic paints and packets of watercolor paper that he uses to sketch his ideas. The art supplies sat in the closet until Sept. 11, 2001 when Endle’s freelance opportunities disappeared.
“Sleepy Lion” by Kate Endle.
“I was depressed and needed to reinvent myself,” she said. “I remembered the supplies Chihuly had given me and started to paint tissue paper with the paints he had given me. I cut up the hand painted papers and glued them to the watercolor he had given me. I became addicted to the process and was able to create a completely new style for myself.”
The new board books, “Who Hoo Are You?” and “What Is Green?” came about after an editor from Sasquatch books saw Endle’s work at Habitude. “She emailed me asking me if I had any interest in board books,” Endle says. Coincidentally Endle had started on a book years earlier and stuck it on the shelf. “She helped in narrowing the focus to animals and smoothing out the rhyme and alliterations that accompany animal illustrations.” Endle tells us. “Both books are rendered in my collage style and include my signature patchwork border technique.”
Ballew’s music moved from rock to kiddie stuff under a new name, Caspar Babypants. He decided on Caspar, “To find a musical home that is sustainable as I settle down into a calmer life,” he says. Although The Presidents are still around (touring next week in Alaska), he loves his new role as a multi-generational musician. “I am always trying to make music that is timeless and not rooted to trends so the fact that the songs can span across age barriers is part of the result of that I think,” he says, “And when your baby gets big and wants rock and roll you can just transition to the Presidents!”
Caspar Babypants. Photo credit Gayland Maynard
If you’ve never heard Caspar Babypants, this is how Ballew describes the music: “It’s open and simple and acoustic and clear and funny and a little intricate and timeless and silly!” Ballew gets his inspiration from both his wife and his kids, “Some Caspar songs are bits that came from just sitting down with my son or daughter when they were little and improvising songs for them about how much I loved them.”
Both Endle and Ballew will be at Clover (5335 Ballard Ave. N.W.) this Saturday evening during the Ballard ArtWalk (.pdf map) from 7 to 9 p.m. Endle will be doing a signing and Ballew says, “I’m gonna do a wee solo show which is fun because anything could happen! and probably will.”