We believe that kawaii should not only be limited to overly cute and sickly sweet appearances. It’s not all about pinks and purples and glitters and sparkles but is also a celebration of youth and things playful and childlike. Just like the Kawaii Princess Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, we think that things that are kawaii shouldn’t be limited to being “just cute.” Adding grotesque or shocking elements to it can make it actually even cuter… don’t you think? If you’re not yet convinced, maybe the works of Gary Baseman, whom we had the privilege of meeting during his exhibit just recently, might change your mind.
Gary Baseman is an American contemporary artist known for his dark, impish, playful, childlike and humorous themes and aesthetics that combine iconic pop art images, vintage motifs and cross cultural mythological creatures. He is one of the prominent figures of the lowbrow movement, also known as pop surrealism, as he takes on various roles in the art scene as a painter, illustrator, video and performance artist, animator, TV/movie producer, curator and toy designer.
If you are wondering why his works seem strangely familiar, remember the Disney animated television series “Teacher’s Pet” where the main character is a dog that dresses up as a boy? Being the creator and producer of this series, Gary Baseman achieved immense popularity and garnered accolades as “Teacher’s Pet” became a three-time Emmy and BAFTA award-winning animation series. This led him to being noted by Entertainment Weekly Magazine as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Entertainment.
Last March 7, Gary Baseman’s world filled with mischievous fun and candy-colored yet naughty creations made its way to our little island as the artist himself visited the country to debut his “Come Play With Us or Else” exhibit at Vinyl On Vinyl in The Collective, Makati.
Come and take a peek into Gary Baseman’s manic playground. Frolic with his naughty, colorful creations and flirt with wild girls and even wilder creatures. Get drunk with color and sweet smelling posies, and dip yourself into a pool of guilty pleasures.
The artworks in the exhibit included vinyl toys, paintings on canvass and sketches on a storytelling book about Jose Rizal’s childhood – all inviting people to “Come play with us or else”
The opening night was packed with fans all lined up to meet and have their books signed by the artist. Attendees were also in awe as they were able to witness Gary Baseman’s live painting session together with Filipino artist Froi Calayag.
Here are some picture that the Kawaii PH team took during the event:
Gary Baseman is a genius.
Who knew that wide-eyed creatures, nymphs and beasts can be cute and creepy at the same time?
Gary Baseman shares pictures during his travel to the Philippines in his Facebook page.