Gary Baseman - The Artist in front of his work - Image via arrestedmotioncom coach sign 2015 news

Gary Baseman

United States 1960

Performance Art, Illustration, Design

Gary Baseman
Gary Baseman
United States
February 8, 2017
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via his Linkedin profile:

Recognized for his talent to use a cartoonish visual style to present the viewers with frightening and provocative content, Gary Baseman is an American contemporary artist who works with a wide range of different mediums. He possesses a strong artistic mastery over illustration, fine art, performance art, design and animation. Baseman’s unique aesthetic blends aspects of iconic Pop art images, vintage motifs, cross-cultural mythology, literary archetypes and psychological models, all underlined by a cartoonish visual vocabulary. The last serves the role of a trademark as the playful, devious and cleverly named creatures are an instant giveaway that you are looking at a Gary Baseman artwork.

Coach Toby had a toys collection which he would store in his home and a museum
Gary Baseman – A Performance Act Where the Artist is Holding Court – Image via

Pervasive Art

Gary Baseman was born in the metropolis of Los Angeles in the year of 1960 and was raised in the city’s Fairfax district. He was the fourth child of Holocaust survivors who were originally from Poland – his father was an electrician and mother was an employee of Canter’s Deli. For as far back as he can remember, Baseman was inspired by Warner Bros. cartoons, MAD Mag and Disneyland and these creative resources still play a major part of Gary’s creations to this day. Another strong influence to the young Gary were his two close friends that are still a big part of his life today – Barry Smolin, who is now a radio host and musician, and Seth Kurland, a writer and TV producer. Baseman studied communications at UCLA. After graduation, the author started dedicating all his efforts towards establishing what he calls pervasive art – an alternative to the lowbrow art label.[1] From that point on, Gary was using that term to didactically describe the broad shift in his and others’ work to more visible avenues of art-making. The ultimate goal of pervasive art was to blur the lines between fine art and commercial art; it also allowed the artist to take on any medium and it did not bind him or her to any one world, whether that is the gallery world, editorial world or art toy world.

Instagram exhibitions offer easy news, contact, print option, store and sign in home page
Gary Baseman – The Door Is Always Open – Image via

Later Career

Gary established himself as the leading international artist during the time between the years of 1986 and 1996 when he worked as an illustrator in New York. He became an in-demand artist with a unique visual sense and the ability to generate sharp, witty messages. In fact, Baseman refers to his illustration work, and to his general process for that matter, as message-making and this is really important to understand when analyzing any of this artist’s works regardless of their type. After proving himself as the leading illustrator, Gary Baseman expanded his practices to performance art, fine art and design whilst he maintained his unique, subtle and dark style.[2]

Gary Baseman – A Moment Ago Everything Was Fine - Image via pinterestcom
Gary Baseman – A Moment Ago Everything Was Fine – Image via pinterestcom

Recognitions and Successes

Baseman’s illustrations and other artworks have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker and Rolling Stone. Furthermore, he has had major independent and corporate clients such as AT&T Corporation, Gatorade, Nike, Inc. and Mercedes-Benz. Besides his artistic practices, Gary is also the creator of the Emmy-winning ABC/Disney cartoon series titled as Teacher’s Pet and the artistic designer of Cranium, a popular award-winning board game.

Gary Baseman is renowned for his ability to present the viewers with dark themes and content by relying on cartoonish visual vocabulary

In 2015, English Toby museum had exhibitions of their fashion toys and characters collection
Gary Baseman – Evidence – Image via

The Unique Contrast of Gary Baseman

Gary’s ability to combine different visual and emotional tones is virtually unrivaled by any contemporary author. Baseman successfully references cartoon imagery and children’s books whilst blending the content with a much darker, moodier themes that introduce wide-eyed devils, nymphs, skeletons and beasts. Surprisingly, this kind of contrast works phenomenally and it truly has a remarkable effect on the viewers. It will cause an instant joy and a sense of nostalgia within the audience before making them aware of the fact that the entire piece has a much grimmer meaning hidden behind the bright colors and carefree atmosphere.

Gary Baseman lives and works in Los Angeles, California, The United States.


  1. Baseman, G., Gray, D A., Heimann, J., Heller, S., Hutchison, A., Rosen, A., Gary Baseman: The Door Is Always Open, Skira Rizzoli, 2013
  2. Baseman, G., Pao & Paws, Dumb Luck: The Art of Gary Baseman, Chronicle Books, 2004

Featured image: Gary Baseman – The Artist in Front of His Work – Image via
All images used for illustrative purposes only.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014Installation: Mythical HomelandSummerhall, EdinburghSolo
2014Art Truancy: Celebrating 20 Years of Juxtapoz MagazineJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013Gary Baseman: The Door Is Always OpenSkirball Center, Los Angeles, CASolo
2013Une Vie À La GommeGaleria +R, BarcelonaGroup
2012ViciousAntonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, MilanSolo
2012Future PassNational Taiwan Museum of Art, TaichungGroup
2011Walking through WallsJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2011Paris Forever 100th exhibition of the GalleryGalerie Magda Danysz, ParisGroup
2011Future PassWereldmuseum, RotterdamGroup
2011The Blab ShowCopro Nason Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2011The Emergence of the Pop ImagistJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010Playboy Redux LlCopro Nason Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2010Christmas RodeoAntonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, MilanGroup
2010FantasilandiaAntonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, MilanGroup
2010Blabworld No. 1 Show … Scenes From The HereafterCopro Nason Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2010Pop Surrealism, What A Wonderfool World At Museo Carandente, SpoletoDorothy Circus Gallery, RomeGroup
2010Street SmartsAffirmation Arts, New York City, NYGroup
2010All In !Espace GHP, ToulouseGroup
2010Playboy Redux: Contemporary Artists Interpret the Iconic Playboy BunnyThe Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburg, PAGroup
2010Five Year AnniversaryJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2009Don't Wake Daddy IVGalerie Feinkunst Krüger, HamburgGroup
2009True SelfJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2009Blabshow!Copro Nason Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2009Aspect:Ratio 2Irvine Contemporary, Washington, DCGroup
2008Don't Wake Daddy IIIGalerie Feinkunst Krüger, HamburgGroup
2008Blabshow!Copro Nason Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2008In the Land of Retinal Delights: The Juxtapoz FactorLaguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CAGroup
2007I Melt in Your PresenceModernism Gallery, San FranciscoSolo
2007Hide and Seek in the Forest of ChouChouBilly Shire Fine Arts, Culver City, CASolo
2007Don't Wake Daddy IIGalerie Feinkunst Krüger, HamburgGroup
2007Beyond UltramanPasadena Museum of California Art- PMCA, Pasadena, CAGroup
2007Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl FrontierPasadena Museum of California Art- PMCA, Pasadena, CAGroup
2007MY 2007Colette, ParisGroup
2006Don't wake DaddyGalerie Feinkunst Krüger, HamburgGroup
2006Draw TourFuse Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2006Pervasion: The Art of Gary Baseman and Tim BiskupLaguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CAGroup
2005Gary Baseman - Bedtime for TobySecond Street Gallery, Charlottesville, VASolo
2005The Garden of Unearthly DelightsJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2005For the Love of TobyBilly Shire Fine Arts, Culver City, CASolo
2005Cannibal FlowerCopro Nason Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2005BLAP! Comics, Illustration und Grafik aus den USAKunstmuseum Luzern, LucerneGroup
2005Inaugural Group ShowBilly Shire Fine Arts, Culver City, CAGroup
2005Pop PluralismJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2004Misfit ToysVarnish Fine Art, San Francisco, CAGroup
2004Why not live for Art?Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, TokyoGroup
2004Krampus & ChristmasCopro Nason Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2003Happy Idiot and Other Paintings About VulnerabilityEarl McGrath Gallery, New York CitySolo
2002Super HeroNew Image Art Gallery, West Hollywood, CAGroup
2002Dime BagNew Image Art Gallery, West Hollywood, CAGroup
2002Picture MechanicsZeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, TNGroup
2002Bubble BathRoq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
1999Dumb Luck and Other Paintings About Lack of ControMendenhall Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo