Xavier Basabe Biography

My work is about the influence of myths and perception. Myths are everywhere and in everything from religion, to politics, to law enforcement. We are defined by it and it informs how we relate to power and authority. It can serve as a rationale for alliance, patriotism, and good citizenship
In my latest series, New Myths, I explore identity and meaning based on assumptions. The notion of how we understand an image is based on our own social context. From this we create fleeting stories that last only as long as the painting is discussed. This is especially true in art exhibits. The painting King Alemo can be about an important man in Harlem or because of the crown, a shout out to a deceased rapper or even an example of modern artist communicating a connection to the painter Basquiat. The viewer’s stories say more about the viewer than the painting.
The images have a single focus. They are controlled in the manner that storytelling makes one recite specific details in retelling it, much like today’s media. The works are beautifully haunting. One doesn’t know whether they are about color or a deeper social or emotional issue. One has to implant and intuit their history, their myth.
The work is heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell and his study of cross-cultural interpretations of the world through myths. The paintings are also informed by Buddhism and its emphasis on focus and stillness to uncover ones true self, ones true story void of the myths that we inherit or create about ourselves or others impose on us.