Who is Bas?
Bas is a typical Dutch name, often short for Bastiaan, or Sebastiaan (not in my case). It’s not quite pronounced like Boss or Buzz, technically not Bahs, although that’s what most American call me. So I tell people it’s like the fish, or the beer.
I’m an artist and a teacher, as well as a beer league hockey goalie and active volunteer at school and in cub scouts.
What did you want to be when you were young?
Well, I wanted to be some kind of artist. Depending on the day you asked me it could have been a drummer, movie director, FX makeup artist or a fashion designer…
However, in my family, business was the ideal and artists were talented, but financially challenged people, so art was no career option.
I grew up in the East of The Netherlands in a small town.
My father was a very creative person, but expressed it in product development and entrepreneurship. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, she plays the piano and paints too.
I studied marketing, figuring that I might be able to leap from marketing to advertising. That never happened. In fact, by the end of college I barely created any art or played any music anymore. I focused on a corporate career in business and marketing…
Fast forward fifteen years, I’m on an airplane home from a big project, burnt out, tired and feeling depleted. I was also often irritable. I wanted to quit.
I had never been without a full-time job, so I kept trying to figure out what to do instead.
That’s when I realized that I had unfulfilled dreams. I had forgotten to be creative
My new career had to stick to a few rules. It had to be somewhat commercial, even if it was artistic, It had to be possible to do from home and I wanted to be self-employed. (I had been self-employed for the better part of the past 15 years).
I started drawing again.
My initial thought was to become a tattoo artist, but the path to become one is through apprenticeship that starts with cleaning and working the front desk of a tattoo shop for no pay. As a forty-something I couldn’t get myself to do someone’s dirty work for them, either teach me to tattoo or not. Also, most tattoo shops are open late and on the weekends, so that wouldn’t work with my goal to spend more time with my family.
Then I found Mel Fox from Rat Art Studios, a seasoned airbrush, pinstripe and hand lettering artist. He taught me how to airbrush and got me drawing and painting again.
Being an artist.
Since then, I’ve been busy as a full-time artist, doing mostly commissioned jobs, painting and airbrushing a lot of hockey goalie masks, helmets, motorcycle parts, leather jackets and all sorts of unusual objects.
In 2017 I decided to also start making Youtube videos. Having worked on my own in my little studio I started to feel the need to work with other people and a more regular life and steady paycheck. I learned a lot from trying to make it as a professional artist. Having worked with kids as a volunteer at school and in cub scouts it felt natural to share my experience and knowledge with the next generation of creative thinkers.
Aside from being an artist I also teach Middle School art in Denver, Colorado.