The reality of a student hyperrealist

Kelly Baskin dabbles in various mediums to create a feast for the eyes

Artist Kelly Baskin in her element
Artist Kelly Baskin in her element

Whether it’s her striking illustration of Advil pills using charcoal on sketch paper or the graceful portrait of a ballerina using mixed media, Kelly Baskin’s work seduces the eye. 

Although her career is in its early days, student artist Baskin, BFA ’17, has an established repertoire. 

Her skill is reflected in her multifaceted collection of work: graphic design, illustrations, paintings, photography and sculpting capture an exceptionally creative imagination. Baskin’s appeal lies with her steady hand and her mastery of a diverse range of artistic mediums including acrylic and oil paints, graphite and hatching. 

Baskin said her infatuation with art was innate.

“Ever since I was little I have been in love with art. You know when you get that assignment 

from your kindergarten teacher saying: what do you want to be when you grow up? I put artist,” she said. 

She said various artists, including Mary Pratt, have influenced her work. But she said it was her grandmother, who was a practising artist, who inspired her to pursue art. 

Having lost three grandparents to cancer, Baskin said her favourite piece she’s worked on most mirrors those battles. The piece, called Hope, is a painting on wood.

The background of the piece is paint streaked by water, while the forefront displays women surrendering by waving flags and making fearful expressions. 

 Kelly Baskin’s abstract piece entitled Hope. (Photos supplied by Kelly Baskin)

Baskin used the color pink and daffodils to represent the disease and the hope that exists for a cure. 

“That was the first time I did a piece that reflected something personal. I did more of an abstract piece than doing something realistic, because I think cancer is rather abstract itself. It wasn’t my favourite technically, but it was my favourite conceptually,” she said. 

Though she immerses herself in a number of art forms, Baskin favours painting and tends to gravitate towards realism. She has recently wandered to the meticulously detailed nature of hyperrealism.  

“Hyperrealism is where the highlights and shadows are so exaggerated that it looks like other-worldly type of realism. It looks even more real than a reality,” Baskin said.

Here she mentioned her piece entitled Raw. Through exaggeration of details, lines and shadows, Baskin transformed a typical slab of meat into a beautiful and abstract piece of art. 

Kelly Baskin’s hyperrealist painting entitled Raw depicting a close up of meat. 

“It made it look more beautiful than it is,” Baskin said.

She attributes her focus on hyperrealism to its attention to detail, patience and its ability to make the ordinary appear extraordinary. 

“I just think it is so captivating. Something else I find very neat — and what I’m focusing on in my thesis — is taking something so banal and making it other-worldly and mystical,” Baskin said. 

Baskin’s academic experience has become incorporated into her artistic imagination. She said that her art history courses have led her to use specific compositions and certain elements. 

Her day-to-day life also makes its way into her pieces. 

“Even if I’m not sitting down dedicating myself to drawing or painting, I’ll be walking or driving in my car and I’ll take mental notes of the colours I see for future colour pallets,” Baskin said.

Baskin said creating artwork helps her take a break from her reality. 

“You completely lose a sense of time. You zone out so much doing it. You have no emotions, it’s such a release. It is such a break from everything.” 

Baskin’s hyperrealist painting Fish Out of Water


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