March 28, 2013
By Nicole Williams
LAWT Contributing Writer
A picture couldn’t tell you a thousand words when it comes to Roberta Baskett’s art, unless you peered inside her mind and soul. Once you unveil the visionary tactics of the 87-year-old artist, you will have the pleasure of experiencing unique art creations that may never have been duplicated. Using the naked eye, you will pick up the vivid, colorful and intricate details and 3-D designs, all made with different types of paper, an art form known as Baskart. The copyrighted name is taken from Roberta’s last name, Baskett and is used to describe the artwork that she says you can personally experience.
“It’s just as real as you taking a trip to go there. I take a trip in my art and I live there until it’s finished. I remember one time when I made snow in a piece of art and I had to put on a coat,” she said.
I was able to take that trip as I listened to Baskett’s descriptions of each piece as we navigated throughout her home. Each story advanced from what she says are “visions from God.” A woman deep in her faith, she creates inspirational and positive art to allow people to do what she says, “focus on God and what He can do through us if we remove self from the statics of life, so that we can have a clear channel to God.”
“It made me a true believer in God. If we relax and let go and let God and wait on the Lord, He will, His plans for your life as he did for me and my art. I sit down until something comes to me and then it stops and I wait until God tells me what to do next. And so each piece of art is actually representing God manifesting His love through me for our pleasure,” she said.
Baskett has always had a calling to be an artist starting from the age of six, but didn’t necessarily realize it. As a child she would make crafted flowers and sell them to her peers and continued making random crafts throughout her childhood.
She never had an interest in what school had to offer, until the death of her mother when she was 17- years old that she decided to focus more on school. She attended UCLA and majored in Interior Design. The class was assigned to often create models of houses out of paper, where cutting and putting together creations that she says was an emergence of an art form. From then she was asked by her church to make a poster to get more children to attend Sunday School.
“In Interior Design, you cater to the 5 senses. So when I was doing this poster to try to attract children to the Sunday school, I thought, they won’t read, so I’ve got to make this poster read to them. I decided to make it in texture, so I drew Jesus and cut him out, cut the grass, the flowers and everything,” she said.
I asked Baskett, “Do you ever get amazed by your own artwork?” She said, “I’m just as in awe as you are.”
The humble and gentle spirit of Baskett can tell one that she is truly a woman who follows her heart. From her college days, she would even tell you she never followed the rules. She attended Bluefield State College in West Virginia, Joseph Academy of Fine Arts in Pittsburgh, PA where she studied newspaper illustrations and UCLA where she studied Interior Design. After hopping around different schools, that’s when she realized she wasn’t attending school to get a degree, but instead to just do art.
In fact, Baskett has experienced a lot in her lifetime. She worked at the Aerospace Industry where designed panels for the Apollo spacecraft. To add to her list of talents, she has also orchestrated music. She has even had one of her pieces of music played by a Symphony Orchestra and a church hymn sang by recording artists. She continues to wait on messages from God to determine what her next piece of art will be. She hopes to leave a legacy by teaching young people Baskart. A piece of her art titled “Psalms 23” and “The Rooster” is now at the Smithsonian Art Museum, which she expects to be shown sometime this year.