We had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Bassett and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leah, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
I think one of the best decisions I made that contributed to my success in freelance was choosing camaraderie over competition. When you recognize and support each other, you help create even more opportunities for success! If we support one another, we can all succeed. There is more than enough to go around!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The term “starving artist” doesn’t really offer people the confidence to pursue a career in the arts, but it was something I always enjoyed and strived for since childhood! I’ve loved to sing, dance, paint, draw, write, and play music since I can remember. Both of my parents were working visual artists so I naturally have it in my blood. I learned early on that art helps remedy and transmute emotional pain and bring happiness to myself and others. I immersed myself in performing and visual arts up through college. I was in incredible debt as soon as I was on my own and working through school. I worked various jobs cleaning houses, waiting tables, selling retail, and salon/spa services. I was finally able to comfortably support myself when I was introduced to makeup artistry in my early/mid twenties. It really helped me fund my passions as a creative. I became one of the top makeup artists in the Baltimore/DC area, traveling up and down the coast for commercial, fashion, celebrity, editorial, corporate and bridal work. It was a great way to work with people, travel and be creative. I am happy to say that since moving to San Diego, I have been able to focus mainly on my visual art career! It is incredibly hard work starting from scratch again, but having faith and support from loved ones has really helped me! My art is my spiritual and intuitive expression of my personal experiences. I meditate and find the beauty in the vulnerability, darkness and light that we all experience. My “characters” are often placed in ethereal environments depicting their emotional state and essence.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have so much fun living in San Diego and discovering all the beauty is has to offer! I live very close to Balboa Park, so that’s always a good start! Around the same area, in Hillcrest is my art studio at The Studio Door, so I would introduce my friend to my workspace and fellow artists. My favorite beaches are Windansea, the tidal pools at OB, and depending on my friend’s comfort, I would consider taking them to Black’s Beach! If one of the days is a bit more mild, we could go hiking in Mission Trails. At night, my boyfriend and I like to do art and play music. We have more than enough instruments to join in.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wish I could share all the stories I have for the people I have gratitude for! I moved here a year and a half ago from the east coast with the goal of working solely on my art. I had so much work to do in order to immerse myself in the community! My partner, Shaka Wood, has been so incredibly helpful and supportive through this journey! He is always helping with shows, pop ups, events, murals, marketing, etc. He is an incredible musician. We are both teaching each other our arts. It is so much fun! I have a Shout Out for all of the artists at The Studio Door for being the best family of creatives. Everyday I am inspired by them! Patric Stillman, the owner, has been such an incredible mentor and friend to me. Victor Adeniran and Judy Mandel are my daily emotional support besties. We are always there to support to each other and give advice in the arts and in life. Stefan Talian, Tim Weedlun and Khalid Alkaaby are my favorite figurative artists that are always an inspiration!
The photo of me on the beach and me painting is taken by Shaka Wood. The rest of the photos are mine of my artwork