By Declan Robb
Basara has worked on several SUP sites, at first glance his work seems to be inspired heavily by the classical/old school approach to graffiti, drawing from “tagging” culture in New York and London. However, as I found out Basara’s art is much more about the individual, he uses his canvas to bear his mind and heart to the audience. Letting his mind drift while painting Basara’s style gives a personal depth to his work.
So how did he become interested in street art? “Since the late 90’s, I had an interest in being an artist.” Basara was unable to draw during his mandatory military service. After his discharge from service in 2000 he saw a TV report on graffiti and his passion was reignited. Ever since this rediscovery he says he has “blindly bought materials” and went for it, exploring the street art world, experimenting and trying to find his own unique style.
“I mostly get my inspiration from people” Basara considers everyday situation to be highly influential on his work: “One’s clothing, color and gestures apply in my method” simple idiosyncrasies such as these all provide him with a rich wealth of ideas and themes. The people in his life and his own personality seem to dominate his approach to art. He considers his role model to be father: “he never achieved what he wanted but showed me how to be a man, he is the best artists in my life” A quick look at his art certainly shows that Basara is not scared of painting from the heart and bearing his own heart to the public.
His own thought pattern seems to feature heavily in his creative process “I have a lot of cockeyed ideas when I paint” these ideas may concern his own personal problems or something simple like the person he will meet afterwards, big or small, good or bad his own experiences find their way into the art.
This process of creating street art seems to be extremely personalized and introspective for Basara. Meaning that the finished piece gives the viewer a glimpse at the artists inner-most thoughts and feelings.
How long does a piece take to finish? “It all depends on the project, but usually it takes up a whole day” Basara often works on derelict building, using the entire length and breadth of outside as his canvas. “I want to work for many hours on a bigger piece, but mostly mu situation doesn’t allow me” Basara recently completed a piece in Itaewon through the project and feels this art is reflective of his own process and method. “It may look similar to the number 88, a maze or a twisted life, or even a subway route.” This interloping, twisting pattern reflects the complexity and journey of his process; “my mind seems to circulate when I paint a complicated piece. I wanted to ease my mind by painting this.”
So from Basara’s mind the image becomes public art on the streets, I asked him about his aspirations: “I don’t want to be recognized only by my painting, I want to be remembered by the people around me.” Again and again the theme of people, family and friends emerges as important aspects of Basara’s art. This approach seems very fresh and down-to-earth, he seems to care more about the people in his life rather than promoting his art.
In the future he is looking further afield, “I want to go on a long trip. It could be a trip to paint, but mostly, I want to meet many people. “With work as personal and relatable as Basara he is sure to encounter many like-minded individuals on his travels. Finally I asked him about the future of street art, in the context of Korea beginning to emerge in the global scene, his answer to me was very Korean, he simply said; “My happiness from painting is my priority. If happiness comes with it, I’m fine with anything.”