Meet

Lydia Bassis

Where are you from and where do you reside?
I was born in Smithtown, NY and currently live in Seattle, WA. In between I have lived in a lot of other cities - Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, New Brunswick and Jersey City, NJ and Brooklyn, NY.
How do your surroundings direct your approach to work? Do you find that environment relates to your painting?
I wouldn’t exactly say that my surroundings direct my approach or directly relate to the structure of my paintings but my surroundings and environment do inform me. Most of my ideas come from things that happen in everyday life, so in that way I am fed by what is around me. I can be anywhere and have an idea for a shape or a line or the way I want to layer something, so the exact surroundings or environment do not really matter.
What tangible objects or intangible moments are you most interested in representing through your works?
There is not one moment or a set of objects that I am most interested in. It’s more about the space between and the experience of various places, ideas and things. I believe so much of human and animal communication happens nonverbally, yet we try to describe everything with our language and words.
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Some things just don’t have words that fit them and I paint pictures of those things.
Are there recurring themes that appear in your work?
The longest running theme in my work is symbolism and along with it the investigation into my own personal writing system and invented language. There are some shapes that I use repeatedly but they have different meanings in each painting. I often use crescents that have been described to me as looking like mustaches or birds, but I have never thought of them that way. To me the crescent shapes are about breathing in and out, ribs, sinking down into calmness, flying and fluttering energy.
What necessities do you require when making your art (radio, specific paintbrushes)?
I like to have a lot of different media available to me when I’m working, and in most of my paintings you will find a mixture of gouache, acrylic, watercolor, ink, graphite, etc. Each medium has its own quality and for me the meaning of a shape or line changes depending on what it’s made with.

As for environment, I need to have a clean and uncluttered space, I need to be alone and I usually work in total silence. I guess I am sensitive to distractions!

Is there something people would be surprised to discover about you?
I studied martial arts years ago and I’m really good, like expert level, at nunchucks.

SHOP WORKS BY LYDIA BASSIS

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