Young Cincinnati artist making a name for herself with thought-provoking pieces

Young Cincinnati artist making a name for herself with thought-provoking pieces
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 4:32 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A recent Cincinnati graduate is shaking up the art space by creating thought-provoking pieces on some difficult topics.

Nytaya Babbit graduated at the top of her class last year at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

Already, her work can be seen across the city of Cincinnati.

As you take a drive past the Artworks building on Gilbert Avenue, you will be greeted with a mural that tells a part of Cincinnati’s history that Babbit helped to create.

“It’s the race refrigeration mural that I worked on with Ella Emanuel,” explained Babbit. “So, we designed a mural to commemorate a Black-owned appliance business that went out of business a few years ago, and Artworks bought the building, so they wanted to commemorate that there was a business there and that it was Black-owned.”

Babbit says she likes her work to not only tell a story but to evoke a feeling.

A vision that she had since she was a little girl.

“Art was the only thing that made sense to me,” Babbit said. “I could have went an academic route. I could have done something else in public office, but I didn’t feel like that’s where my future resided. I felt like I wouldn’t flourish there.”

A journey that took some time to develop - with her mother being her first critic.

“The first picture that I drew was of my mom,” Babbit recalls. “She hated it and I wanted to be able to draw well enough for her not to hate how I depicted her. So, to this day, she has not let me draw her again. So, I’m trying to get back in her good graces.”

In the meantime, Babbit has gained a lot of attention for her recent collection that combines painting with a bit of technology. Her recent piece depicts different Black women, not only capturing their image, but with a scan of the QR code in the painting, the images come to life.

The code opens to a story from each woman of their own life experiences.

“You will listen to their story as you’re sitting and having a pseudo conversation with them,” explained Babbit.

A conversation, she says, is meant to push some into an uncomfortable space sparking conversation and reflection.

“It was a part of my thesis last year and I wanted to interview Black women because I feel like Black feminine bodies are persecuted largely on social media and in public and anywhere honestly and I wanted to give these women a space to be able to talk about themselves for themselves and give them the platform to be shown that way,” said Babbit.

Graduating as the valedictorian of her class with a degree in illustration, painting, and drawing, plus being named SummerFair Cincinnati’s Emerging Young Artist, Babbit has been one to watch in the art scene.

But with all the awards and accolades, there’s one thing that surpasses them all.

“My family, their recognition means the most to me, honestly, I do my work because I know that my family supports me and I know that they want me to thrive,” says Babbit. “So, that’s why I do the work that I do. I mean recognition is great. I like that I get to continue making work with recognition, but also, I want to remember that my family is helping me get to where I need to go.”

Babbit is currently working as a student affairs coordinator at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. She says her future goal is to showcase her own art show exhibit.

Breaking Through Series

This story is part of a weekly segment called Breaking Through.

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