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Cant live without art

Stina Sieg Post Independent Staff
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado You dont have to go to a great art school to create art. Thats what Lauren Bassett has finally decided in recent months. When she graduated from high school, she was admitted into Baltimores Maryland Institute of Art with a hefty scholarship. It only took a little more than a year, though, to realize it didnt feel right. She left, went through ups and downs, moved around, until finally settling in Glenwood about two years ago to help take care of her grandparents. Now, as she studies at the local college and plans to become a teacher, she knows one thing for sure. She can make art, even this far away from MICA and its community of creative types. She said she has to, actually. And she loves it.

Ive been doing art since I can remember. I was in an art class every single year, all through school. I would say, after my sophomore year (in high school) was when I was like, I knew I had to make art. It was not an assignment. Nothing was due, and I would just be up in my room, like painting or doing ink or making some weird sculpture until 1 or 2 (in the morning), and I had another homework assignment due. And, I guess my junior year, when I could just explore. Before then, I wanted to write, and I did theater. But I found art is such a better release, I guess, and almost a better healing process.

Sometimes I feel vulnerable, almost kind of like Im standing naked in a room. Its almost to that extreme, but then Im like, I didnt think I could do it, especially not having a class right now. I didnt think I could do it on my own. And Im like, I kind of made some good pieces. And people are responding to it. I guess it makes me proud to be an artist.



I guess it goes back to Miss Rhode, my high school teacher. She was just so there and with it and inspirational. I mean, high school is rough for, I think, everybody. It kind of can be its evil, I think, sometimes. I was going through a really rough time just with my mom getting married and then with my step dad, and it was rough. I went through some really, just bad times, and she was there. And she was, like, Draw about it. Paint about it. And she had these after school programs every Thursday, and it was really from like 4 to 8, and I would always be there until 10 or 11. And it was just I could get out, you know, and I really want to give that to kids. And also the fact that, you know, the art programs right now are just dwindling, and theyre falling scared. Kids need that. Kids need theatre. Kids need music. I know math and english are important, but there are other ways.

Its just its healing. Theres a painting in there called Healing, and its just, I think, a way that I can overcome things, and it helps me. I mean, I guess I want people to know that life is s*** sometimes, but you can overcome it. You just have to work really hard. Everyone has their obstacles substance abuse, things like that. Its scary. You have all these hurdles, and you dont know what to do, and youre just like, Im going through the monotonous cycle. I work two jobs now, but I remember I was working at Target, and I was like wake-up-go-to-work-come-home-sleep. And it was just like, no, I can do more. I can overcome this, and we can overcome. The main thing that would be cool would be to have people be inspired, to have them see something and think of something else. That would be an ultimate goal, I guess.



(She started a story about how she went through a three-month not art stage after MICA. Everything changed a couple months later, while she was visiting her mother in California). I was lying in bed, and it was 9 oclock in the morning or maybe 10, and this little voice inside of me, it was like Lauren, if you dont do art right now, you will die. And it was intent. It was like, You will die. Your heart will stop beating. Your mind will stop working, and you will die, if you do not start doing art right now. And I just panicked, and was in my bedroom which was slash (/) my moms office, and I just got on the floor, and I grabbed all my old art materials from high school, and I just grabbed it, and I grabbed file folders and paper and invoices, just grabbed them all and just started writing and drawing and touching the paint, like touching it and doing all these things. And there was paper everywhere, and Im in my pajamas. I think I was in underwear and a T-shirt. (It was then, she said, that her mom walked in and asked is she was alright. On the floor, fighting back tears, Bassett made a decision)I realized I can not go that long again without making art.

Stability. Im really grateful that I have a great boyfriend. He is amazing, and he is there for me, and he is understanding, and he doesnt quite always know to say the right words or how to critique my art or anything like that. I use face mask stuff, and I peel it off, and I keep the peel. Its a really cool texture. It looks like skin, and it has your pores in it, and its awesome. And I used it in a piece, and I sold it for 50 bucks once. So, I made him put it all over my back and blow dry it and peel it off. I mean, how cool is that? To have a boyfriend who, he doesnt know why hes doing this, but hell do it. Hes great. And then my family. I think now theyre just really happy for me, and they know that I have my goals, and Im working to reach them. They are very supportive. They are very loving. And here, I have a great job, I have two great jobs. Im going to school, and its that stability. Before everything had to be chaos. Everything had to be anarchy. Now, its like, I never thought I could say it, but Ive found peace in this, almost. I can still be creative and live this life and I never thought that was possible.


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