Chicago based artist Lynn Basa is interested in the layers of people and pioneers expansive views on art in the public realm. She holds a Masters in Public Art Policy and recently earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Basa's dynamic studio practice explores the notion of human facades that are inherent in everyone due to a socially astute and aware society. Whether painting, collaging, or drawing, her works carry secrets visible to keen observers.
I'd love to hear a little about yourself and your art.
Before I was able to put it into words, my work has been taking me to the edges of discomfort and awkwardness. I now understand that I am, personally, in constant conflict about whether to be a pleasing good girl so as not to make anyone uncomfortable, or to be my awkward, full-sized self. Finally realizing that everyone needs to perform a masque in order to maintain social order - this is the underpinning of all of my paintings. It fascinates me to think about all of the stuff people carry around that is concealed under how they present themselves to the world.
Any recommendations for young/emerging artists starting out?
Find your tribe. Connect with other artists who are interested in the same issues and ideas that motivate your work. Show up to support them when they have events. Curate small exhibits in oddball places of your work and others. Start a crit group in your studio. Go to the openings of galleries that are showing work you’re interested in. Go during regular gallery hours and talk to the dealers about the work that they were interested in enough to take the risk to show it. Attend every lecture by visiting artists that you can, even if it’s not work you’re particularly interested in, so you keep open to ideas other than your own. There are a ton of great art blogs and magazines out there, subscribe and keep up, or even start an art review blog.
Do you have any specific things or people that influence your art?
Everything. Learning how to integrate who I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve seen/read, experiences and emotions into objects that other people are going to encounter is a constant (but welcome) challenge.
What's something that everyone loves/talks about but doesn't make sense to you?
That art can change the world. I don’t think so, but I’m open to being convinced.
What excites you about the art world today?
It finally dawned on me that I’m never going to be an Art Star; that I had somehow let myself be brainwashed into thinking that being lauded by the cool kids is the ultimate measure of success. As embarrassing as it is to admit, it opened my eyes to a world of opportunities that I had previously dismissed, a deeper understanding of myself, and a tremendous feeling of contentment that I’ve never known before.