Marisabel Bazan is an L.A.-based interdisciplinary painter, muralist, sculptor and installation artist hailing from Panama. Her love of vibrant color and richly layered abstract expressionism animates her signature butterfly motifs. A symbol of peace, beauty and most importantly transformation, the butterfly is both a deeply personal emblem and a symbol of global and inter-cultural connectedness. From site-specific public installations to a new series of intimate sculptures benefiting children’s charities in Panama, Bazan explores the aspects of poetic metaphor as well as mental health and stewardship of nature in her meditations on healing and metamorphosis.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
MARISABEL BAZAN: I have always worked in the arena of the creative arts. I started my career as a professional dancer, singer/songwriter, and entertainer. Painting and sculpting became my primary artistic focus about 10 years ago when I was in my mid-thirties.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
My work is about the human ability to transform — transform thoughts, transform matter, transform life.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
If I were to shift my work efforts to a different career, I would probably go into architecture.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I am a self-taught artist. The idea of pursuing a creative career was not an option presented to me, therefore my formal education was geared toward communications and marketing. However, throughout my formative years, I consistently involved myself and stayed connected to the arts.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
I love Los Angeles. I love the weather, the landscape, the multicultural vibrancy of this city. When I first arrived in Hollywood, I felt inspired by how many artists found their true purpose in L.A.
When was your first show?
I had my first solo show in Panama in 2012. The show, entitled Lalaland, was the introduction of butterflies as a recurring metaphoric image in my work.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show?
I just released a new series, the Joy Holiday Collection. This work is comprised of art-edition ornaments and is available on my website. With each sale, proceeds are being donated to a charity Proniñez in Panama that provides support to children in need. I’ve also been leaning toward tech as a medium and recently developed a filter for Instagram stories, which is in essence an extension of my sculptural work. Staying connected to the broader community is important to me, so as we collectively shift to exposing art and creative work to online platforms, I am able to communicate my artistic concepts through this global transition and transformation.
What artist living, or dead would you most like to show with?
I feel inspired and empowered by the story of Yayoi Kusama. Her stunning creations, her color palette, the authenticity in bringing what she has in her mind into a tangible, beautiful work of art ignites my imagination and inspires my ideas of exploring the limitless possibilities we have as human beings. The way in which she uses her artistic process as a form of therapy is truly touching. I feel connected to her.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
I do listen to music while I work. I love to sing along with a song and will keep the song on repeat which helps me keep my workflow grove.
Website and social media handles, please!