Many kids draw. But not many kids draw like 9-year-old Noah Hurley Baker.
“(When) he was just 1-year-old, there were crayons on the floor and an oversized sketch pad, and he crawled over to it with a crayon and drew a seashell spiral,” recalls dad Jon Baker. “Then he picked up a different crayon and drew the same spiral. Then another and another until he filled the paper with these same exact, perfectly spaced spirals … and I thought, ‘holy cow, what the heck is going on?’”
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A seasoned artist himself, Jon has been showcasing his surf and Lucy the Elephant art in exhibits up and down South Jersey for years. Noah began publicly displaying his art just last year in events such as Steve & Cookie’s annual art show, an exhibit with his dad at the Katz JCC and at a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City, where he personally sold $3,000 in art and raised $1,400 for the cause.
For the second year in a row, both dad and son will now be part of Art for a Cause to benefit the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, at Heritage Surf and Sport in Margate.
Inspired mostly by his dad’s work, Noah also creates art revolved around surfing and Lucy. But he also draws “unique little farm animals,” some of which he depicted last year in a mock election. Noah assures he was not making any kind of political statement.
The two often work on side-by-side easels in Jon’s studio, where dad will advise son on fundamentals such as shading, which Noah claims is “one of the most revolutionary things” he has learned from his pop.
“I’ll encourage him and I’ll ask, ‘What do you want to draw today?’” Jon says. “I don’t talk to him during (his work), but I will give an honest critique. Sometimes he likes that, sometimes not. But it sinks in.
“I’m honest with him. And there’s lots of work that’s very praise worthy.”
While Jon is an avid surfer, Noah tried it once, admitting he “enjoyed it.” Both guys hope to hit the waves again this summer.
For now, Jon is happy boasting about his kid’s art to his patrons at Steve & Cookie’s Oyster Bar, where he also tends bar, as well as sharing the spotlight with him at various shows and exhibits.
“People will corner him, they are so enthralled by what he’s doing,” Jon beams. “So he’ll tell them what he’s doing.”
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“I’ll explain the meaning behind my artwork — (and) the hidden stuff,” Noah continues. “(Like) I make these surfer-dude drawings and there’s a hidden surfboard sometimes.”
Jon, who has participated in fundraisers for the DRCF for years, such as Paddle for a Cause, is happy that the organization now has expanded to include this art fundraiser, so that, aside from surfing and art, he and Noah can now share in the gift of giving.
“I count my blessings and try to do something positive for the foundation,” Jon says. “Too many people with cancer need financial assistance. I’ve been blessed. If we can help out, we have to.”