Life Imitates Art
 by Ray Gatica

 Being an artist and designer, I created a whimsical children’s character named The Official Baby Watcher, a few years ago for a friend's newborn baby because I could not find something that reflected what I felt inside. I did not want the usual cutesy, character without any significance or  purpose, therefore I wound up creating my own gift, a gift from the heart. What followed turned out to be The Official Baby Watcher ( aka, as The Lil Baby Watcher).  

 The character is a fanciful little baby watchman, a guardian that watches over small children and babies.  It was created for a friend’s child - because I wanted to give the new baby a unique and significant gift with a purpose. I thought – “If I could give any one thing to any child it would be their very own guardian that would watch over them forever.”  From this thought the Li’l Baby Watcher ™ character was born.

 The original, whimsical design was a two-dimensional airbrush rendering of my idea of what a baby watchman would look like if he were real: a wholesome, physically fit and strong character. Overall he is a little peculiar, funny looking character with a large head with big eyes, big ears and short-short legs and he stands on two huge feet and clumsy looking boots.  

The idea is that his big ears and eyes allow him to see and hear everything in the baby’s  tirelessly and dutifully while he perform his sentinel duties - as he watches over the baby’s room hence his name -The Li’l BOBW sculptor front II.jpg (50150 bytes)aby Watcher.  He is a misfit of sorts, a cross between a funny looking clown and a dashing, li’l soldier but is neither. However, these peculiarities are what make him special and allow him to be who he is. Overall, he is a healthy, wholesome looking character by design (at right).

A few months later, after creating the character, I sat down to write to describe him. This lead to writing The Official Baby Watcher story which describes the character as a lonely and seemingly unimportant, insignificant misfit of sorts, a peculiar, disheveled character named, Wob (rhymes with Bob). And even though he was in the baby’s room, he was not a toy that the baby could play with he sat up on a high shelf - seemingly without any purpose or reason.  This made him feel lonely and all alone. But despite his peculiarities, he was a smart li’l guy and had feelings and he loved the baby in the story. His biggest wish was to be a part of the baby’s life someday.

Because of his peculiarities and lack of purpose he felt like he didn’t belong anywhere and goes through a time of emotional conflict, loneliness, fear and doubt. But, then a day comes when he has to overcome all that, and be strong, to save the baby from imminent danger and harm. Ultimately, with the help of his “Little Voice from Within” he goes through a magical transformation to prove his “great love” for the baby. The story ends happily as the family finally notice him and realize how special he is and designate him “The Official Baby Watcher.”  In the end he gets placed close to the baby’s bed. He is now a dashing, debonair hero and happy little someone - no matter how peculiar!

NOW, about the “life imitating art” part, back when the story was written, a friend told me that the little character was me – implying that the character and I were one-and-the same. At the time, I didn’t see what she was trying to tell me.

Finally, after a few years, as I contemplate my age, position in life and find myself at a standstill and boredom career-wise - her observation of the parallels in the story between the character and me have become more obvious. Just like Wob’s funny features make him special and allow him to be what he is, albeit a misfit.  I also feel like a misfit - because even though, I am a creative individual and exercise my talents in assorted ways, I feel it is these assorted talents that make me what I am and has  allowed me to create the character. But it also makes me feel l like I don’t belong in any-one category - which in turn makes me feel like - like a jack-of-assorted-talents and a master-of-none. And because I am not known in any particular circles, I feel insignificant and with-out-a-purpose.

Like, Wob, in the story, right before he saves the baby from harm, I find myself apprehensive as I move toward the uncertainty of a new business venture and direction career-wise, I realize I have to be strong and face my fears, self doubts apprehensions to persevere and succeed, just like him. 

And just like him, I respect and care for small children and have gone a step further to fulfill his ultimate wish and have made him a playable, plush toy that can be shared with babies and small children. 

Also, like, Wob, I long to be a part of my family and believe its success will provide the wherewithal to be able spend more time with my father, who turned ninety-two recently and eleven brothers and sisters and numerous nephews nieces and great nephews and nieces of which, mostly live in Phoenix, Arizona; and to be more a part of their lives.

If and when you see the O.B.W. character on the market and being a success you will know that just like him  - I have reached my life goal and will be a little happy li’l someone then, too…

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