Visiting Artist talk: Hernan Bas: notes.


Artist Lecture Series Hernan Bas

A few notes, jotted down, just quickly, in point form,  for those of you who missed the Hernan Bas lecture in our auditorium last Thursday night.

  • “If you’re not curious you should stop being an artist. It fuels my work.”
  • As a child in 1988 he was fascinated by Time Life’s paranormal Mysteries of the Unknown.
  • After talking about Time Life he plays the 1983 music video for Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart and tells us that “all the themes that have turned up in my work” are also present in this video, e.g., Gothic castles, epicene schoolboys.
  • He relates his interest in the occult to his homosexuality – the sensation of being a somewhat alien being. Mentions Oscar Wilde.
  • Literature. He imagines his figures in the middles of stories.
  • Beetlejuice is one of his favorite movies. He collects Memphis furniture. (See also: his 2014 Memphis Living show at Victoria Miro.)
  • David Hockney.
  • At a residency in Marfa he became interested in the Marfa Ghost Lights.
  • Self-taught. Attended one semester at Cooper Union.
  • He has wanted to be a painter for as long as he can remember. “I never wanted to do anything else.” He made his first work on canvas at the age of eight. A painting of two polar bears. He paints every day from morning to night.
  • He thinks every artist should spend as much time as possible in the studio.
  • He likes to “collage” different styles into a painting, e.g., silkscreen in one area; a patch of abstraction (a painting within the world of the painting, see Memphis Living (the go to artist), 2014) elsewhere. Thinks of silkscreen as “another brush.”
  • Admires the work of Canada’s General Idea art collective. (See The 2014 Mr. General Idea Pageant, 2014.)
  • “The work I hate the most [in each of his one-man shows] is, like, everyone’s favorite.”
  • “I think it’s a good idea to sometimes make work that you think is terrible, and show it.”
  • At one point he wanted to paint floral bouquets; the urge embarrassed him but he followed it. (The Private Bouquet series, 2015.)
  • Let go of your preciousness.
  • Don’t cling to a style. It’s good to be able to look back at your past work and say, “That’s not me.”
  • On painting so many flamingos: “I feel I have the right to, I’m from Miami.”



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