Off the Wall
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Animation historian Charles Solomon, on the other hand, says artists like Baseman who make cartoons and toys as well as traditional easel paintings may not be getting a fair shake. "There’s been a tendency for a long time to treat those areas as the unloved, red-haired stepchildren," he says. "Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed a great deal."
"To me, that’s just a challenge," Baseman responds. "My job is to blur the lines. Is it high? Is it low? What is it? I guess the point is that I’m not scared of getting my work out there. I like the thrill."
For Baseman, the thrill is far from over. With most of his working life still ahead of him, the artist has big plans: more TV, film, art books, gallery shows, and also a Baseman-brand line of household products and clothing — "quality stuff, something I would like to own," he says.
Those who know him won’t be surprised if he pulls it off. "I don’t mean this negatively, I love the guy," says his friend Smolin, "but I think he wants everyone to know who Gary Baseman is."
Anne Burke is a senior writer for UCLA Magazine.