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A Nightmare On Main Street

Local student has two pieces displayed in ghoulish art show


For Kurtis Bassmann, art is a hobby, but with a serious twist. He focuses on architecture at the Wheatley School, but has a flair for darkness when it comes to his two pieces that were on display Nov. 1, during the “Nightmare on Main

Street” exhibition at the Huntington Arts Council.


The East Williston resident has been drawing since he was 4 years old. Bassmann, 17, designs his work in art teacher Nicole Walsh’s class. He called it a twist of fate.


“She knew they were having the [showing] and I happened to have two pieces that were Halloween-themed, eery  design,” he said.


His first art piece, “Day of the Dead” was a class assignment. The day is commemorated in Mexico and lasts from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.


Bassmann thought to stick to the tradition and pen a drawing highlighting the culture, but opted for something different; something original. The design sports alien spaceships, two earths, fire and teeth.


“I was thinking ‘okay I can try to come up with something more cultural,’ but I didn’t know anything really about traditional skulls, so I figured I’d go the sci-fi route with an original skull,” he said.


Bassmann feels his drawing doesn’t convey a defined theme. However, his desire to make the “Day of the Dead” his own is what fueled the design.


“There’s no real message I guess,” Bassmann said. “You could say it’s extraterrestrial, space-aged themed, but a lot of it is a bunch of designs. The design is kind of technological, the way the lines are. I wanted to put a newer twist on it.”


His second piece of art, a still-life dubbed “Remnants,” showcases a skull, pearl necklace along with a skull, magnifying glass and items to resemble the pieces of a crime scene, according to Bassmann. While his first piece sports multiple color schemes, Bassmann’s second display showcases muted tones.


“It’s sort of a remnant of a crime scene investigation,” said Bassmann. “It has more dull colors. I tried to not use black. I tried to use more purples to give it a sadder tone.”


But why skulls? Bassmann said there are quite a few skulls in his classroom as well as bones. He said the variation in shape of skulls is what drew him in.


He wants his love of architecture to be a “very useful tool in communicating ideas.” Bassmann’s main interest is in modern architecture. His favorite site? The Guggenheim Museum.


“I like architectural drawings, landscapes and cityscapes,” Bassmann said. “I like to use lines to communicate value or depth. I like shading, but I like using different types of lines.”


He feels Cooper Union in New York would be the best spot to take his talents after high school. Bassmann has already attended summer and Saturday programs at CU, taking drawing, printmaking and art issues/writing classes, which go towards an advanced regents diploma.


“My dad had gone to school there and he had always talked about it since I was little,” he said. “I always imagined it to be a great place.”