10 Questions // Caitlin Hackett : Brooklyn

1. What inspires you these days?

The BBC Life series which I recently watched, they have an entire episode on plants that is essentially all done in fast forward stop motion, so that the plants become eerie hunting creatures which bloom and climb and flesh out in bizarre, jerky motions, chasing the sun.

The pigeons outside my window who are so handsome for being so ungainly, my cat who is mysteriously balding, the fires burning on the surface of the ocean in the gulf that are some of the most surreal and hellish things I have ever seen in my waking life. My dreams, where creatures of every shape and size roam free, and the hands of strangers on the subway, who probably think that I am a creeper because I spend so long staring at the lines of their arms.

2. Who are your heroes?

Kermit the frog, Walton Ford, John James Audubon, Captain Planet (I wish often that they would re-air that show, it’s very appropriate for the times, not to mention who doesn’t love a man with a green mullet?), and anyone out there fighting to protect our worlds dwindling ecosystems and long suffering wildlife. Also my cat, because I’ve been reading some fascinating pseudo science articles about how cat purring can help to heal your bones and ease pain. Intriguing, hilarious, and strange, supposedly “consistent vibrational sound frequencies of 25-150 Hz, which is the range of a cat’s purr, aid in the healing of bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles, as well as providing pain relief”. Craziness perhaps, but fun to think about. Thanks Devalera (my cat).

3. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Wilderness. I have a few places in my mind that I retreat to, as living in New York City offers rather limited wilderness, usually in the form of rogue pigeons, rats, and rat sized cockroaches. For me happiness is being way out on the rugged beaches of the Lost Coast of northern California, where the forest runs right into the ocean without interruption. Or high up in the Sierra Nevadas; someplace where the air smells like loam and pine and rain, and it is so quiet at night that the silence keeps you awake; where if you sleep outside of your tent you can actually watch the constellations as they wheel over head, with stars so bright and thick it’s like the air is clotted with silver. Happiness is sitting with my cat, on a rainy day with a good book, when I have no where I have to be, and no one I have to talk to. I am an escapist at heart – it’s one of my weaknesses. Although I love the city, and love the people that I meet and the energy of this place, when it comes down to what makes me really happy, it is just a few close friends, way out in the woods, with a campfire and a river, and no paved roads for miles around.

4. What scares the hell out of you?

People and the constant minor destruction that even the most innocuous life creates, let alone the rampaging destruction of those who go out of their way to create havoc. The oil in the gulf, the rapid disappearance of amphibians all over the world, the slow and constant spread of deserts as deforestation and poor crop management causes sand to slowly take over what was once fertile land in nations all over the world. Animal cruelty, and the wildly insufficient laws that (barely) exist to ‘protect’ them, even in America, which considers itself to be a world leader [in environmental protection]. People who do nothing. “Good” people who do nothing.

5. What makes you laugh hard?

Conversations with my sister who always cheers me up. The nutters who come into the restaurant where I work who neither read menus nor listen and then proceed to be angry/confused about the food they get. My cat, who likes to wiggle across the floor on his back like a bizarre cat-worm. Watching the Daily Show usually gets a good laugh out of me. Watching “Work of Art” usually makes me laugh, people watching in NYC, and nutters on the subway.

6. Who are your favorite artists of all time?

Walton Ford, Martin Wittfooth, Hannah Dougherty, Arthur Rackham, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, J.J. Audubon, Hieronymus Bosch, Brian Froud, Kate MacDowell, James Jean.

7. What is your guiltiest pleasure?

One of my guilty pleasures is watching kid movies. I love Happy Feet, and loved How to Train your Dragon. I’m a goon. The rest I’ll never tell.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

My memory. I have a terribly memory. Or maybe I’d like to be more of a go getter, more prone to taking action. It’s hard to choose.

9. What’s your favorite thing in the world?

That’s impossible to choose – I have no one thing. My family, my twin sister, my boyfriend, my cat, animals in general, the movie “the Labyrinth”, the redwood forest, muppets, all the great books I’ve read in my life, so many more things I can’t possibly name them all. Living, and creating, and trying to create change. The fact the drawing still seems like magic to me, so that when I look at a piece I’ve made, it can still seem as if it appeared out of the ether.

10. What comes to mind when you think of Brooklyn?

Pratt (where I went to school), brownstones and bodegas and dirty pigeons. The little orange kitten I found, getting lost, big rats, sunsets over the Brooklyn skyline, sunrises after an all nighter at school, Maggie Browns, Bergen Bagels, those wierd trees that drop fruit that smell like poop in the spring (they’re real, I promise), pizza slices at 2am, gunshots, crazy 12 year olds asking for blowjobs at 1am on a tuesday night, feral cats, block parties, constant construction, murals, bicycles, double bicycles, strange kids filming themselves riding on bicycles at odd hours of the night, walk up apartments, the G train, sunshine on red bricks and green trees and odd little cafes and skinny jeans and too much coffee. Giant flying cockroaches, good sushi, pitbulls, and ferris wheels.

/// See more of Caitlin’s work here.

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