Baseman at KIAF Art Fair in Seoul

Gary Baseman is at KIAF Art Fair in Seoul now through September 10, showing new paintings made especially for Megumi Ogita Gallery, a Tokyo-based gallery.

“This work is a combination of looking back at childhood and an opening to the post-pandemic world. I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of innocence we have when young, and the idea of washing away adult responsibilities and societal negativity.”

Catch the Wind (above) shows the spirit of youth while trying to do something impossible: catch the wind. The painting title comes from a 1965 song by Donovan.

Baseman’s new paintings feature his original characters (Toby, ChouChou, Hotchachacha), alongside animal companions from his life (Blackie the Cat and Bosko), plus other plush figures from his childhood including Snoopy, a tiger, and a bunny named Disko (intentionally spelled with a “k”).

Photo: Gary Baseman at age 7 napping with a Disneyland pendant and his favorite plush animals, Disko, a snake, and a tiger.

“I found these old stuffed animals from my childhood when my older siblings and I emptied out the house where we grew up. It was bittersweet thinking back to that time. I found myself listening to music from the 1960s and 1970s, escaping to this other time and place.”

Disko Fever (above) shows Disko the bunny surrounded by friends in a land of abundant mushrooms. “I was thinking of mind expansion, like when losing oneself in music, and enjoying the company of friends. I wanted to use mushrooms in the art to reference children’s tales and the magic and mystery found in the woods.”

ItchyKoo Park (above) features friendly creatures gathered in a vibrant, lush forest. Evoking the line “It’s all too beautiful”, lyrics from the 1968 song titled Itchycoo Park by Small Faces, Baseman blends ideas from childhood, psychedelic rock-n-roll, and a past era.

He says, “I was never cool as a kid, but I’m still nostalgic for it. I’m wondering what is it like to feel the sun kiss you? What’s it feel like to ride the wind, play in nature, and find beauty?”

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