The Eighth Page

Brian “Baby” Barker, Socially Awkward Coloring Extraordinare

Brian Barker may not be able to hold a conversation or remember your name (as a matter of fact, he definitely can’t), but the kid sure can color! The socially awkward ninth grader came to PA with straight D’s in math, English and science, but all A’s in putting the perfect colors between the lines. Whether it’s a picture of a circle, basketball, soccer ball, or even a baseball, Brian makes whatever it is he’s coloring jump off the page. We here in the FARTS section sat down with him for one of the most awkward and unrevealing interviews ever. Q: Where does your passion for coloring come from? A: Yes, I love “The Passion of the Christ.” Mel Gibson is a phenomenal director. The guy who played Jesus was also great—I was really pulling for him to take the Oscar. Q: What is your favorite crayon color? A: I’m not sure. I can’t read. Q: Is there any artistic background in your family? A: I actually don’t often color in the backgrounds. I like to leave them blank. I find that it adds to the contrast of a piece. I’m not sure if my family colors in the backgrounds, either. Q: Do you color anything that isn’t a circle? A: Sure. I sometimes do smiley faces. I’m also known for coloring aerial photos of dinner plates, hockey pucks, and carousels. Q: Is coloring the reason for your monstrous right forearm? A: No. No, it is not. Q: Have you won any awards for your artwork? A: Indeed! Each year, I enter the “Color Santa’s Sleigh” contest at the Wal-Mart in my hometown. They hang all of the pictures up on the wall, and hang the top three above the lottery ticket machine. I took the bronze in back to back years, ’03 and ’04, and finally took home the gold in ’06 after missing the ’05 competition due to hand cramps. Q: The first time you picked up a crayon, did you know that you were meant to be a professional colorer? A: No. Q: When did you first learn to color? A: Back when I was 11, I was at TGI Friday’s, and after mistaking my 5’ 3”, 82-pound rattle-carrying body for that of a three year-old, the waitress handed me a children’s menu along with a four pack of crayons. The rest came naturally. Q: What are some of your favorite things about coloring? A: I love the feeling as the brush strokes the paper. It’s just so natural. Q: I thought you said you color… A: I’m sorry, what?