Origins: Dr. C Hite

Origins of the Rag Kabuki

I am a lifetime, environmentally-challenged artist, who works out of my garden sculpture studio in Los Osos, California.

Parades, pageantry, funeral rituals and dreams have long been an influence on my artwork since living in the south of Taiwan as a little girl. My evolution as an artist has its origins in my self-image as the “Rag Kabuki,” a mysterious character, burdened and bundled, making progress by dragging it all forward with me.  I see a common thread of beauty in all things and repurpose, reprocess and recycle as an art form lifestyle.

I have created earth installations since a tot and found-object sculpture since four years of age.  I got well into inventing and creating in kindergarten and grade school when my father, recognizing my interest, gave me permission to use any tool in his crib (as long as I put them back). My mother had long supplied me with drawing paper, paints, pastels, color-pencils and a piano, to keep me occupied.  By the time I had unlimited access to piano lessons, real tools and building supplies, Mother was making inquiries of the butcher who supplied rolls of butcher paper for my epic drawings. I quickly used up the paper rolls, creating a series of individual film-cell drawings, which I then rolled through the back of a card board box theatre.  I read, taught myself to write at 4 years, and was soon composing poems, songs, and piano compositions.  My mother only told me I was a “gifted” child in the last year.  I define “gifted” as having an enthusiasm for life and keen interest in exploring and experimenting. Why some people don’t have this curiosity, don’t nurture it or are not themselves nurtured, I will never know why.

My working studio, #99 on this year’s ARTS Obispo Open Studio Art Tour, is a celebration of my enthusiasm for life during this year of the Dragon and end of the Mayan Calendar.  Installations of silk fans, giant nude paper-dolls, and ornate, repurposed “coolie” hats transform the garden and otherwise serious nature of my monumental ceramic sculpture work will be on display.

I reached the point where I don’t have to have all the answers, I only have to work towards a solution, intuitively.  If I cannot visualize or think of a conclusion for a large work, I will dream it.


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