An artist rediscovers her muse
Kasie Lin Bazan still remembers her first art exhibition, on the family refrigerator. “My mom, especially, has always been very encouraging with my art and signed me up for art classes when I was younger. So, I assumed that I was as good as Leonardo or anybody else.”
With her mom’s encouragement and DaVinci’s inspiration, Bazan enrolled in art classes as a child and quickly discovered her natural talent. “I’ve been painting and creating works since I could hold a paintbrush,” she says.
And there’s still a child-like imagination to her art. Elegantly drawn images that glimpse into a world where an apple may possess a core of wood surrounded by field or a fanciful village scene constructed of arms, hands, and legs. Bazan’s influence? Only the space and opportunity to create— “To me, a canvas is a portal to another world where I have full creative control.”
Now Bazan has the opportunity to take her creativity to the next level, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in art with a pre-emphasis in art therapy.
Even with family support, finding that opportunity and feeling in control has often been a daunting challenge. Bazan grew up near Louisville, Kentucky, struggling with anxiety and ADHD. She attended the University of Kentucky in 2010, majoring in art education, but didn’t connect with the prospect of teaching. “I just wasn’t drawn to it as much,” she recalls. “I stopped—just getting my associate’s degree until I could figure out what it was that I actually wanted to do with art.”
Then life happened—a decade’s worth. She had a son and moved to Sheboygan, where her parents had relocated. She worked in the retail world but couldn’t give up on the calling of her art. “I decided to come back to college to finish my degree, after 10 years.”
Bazan enrolled in 2021 and immersed herself into new disciplines—printmaking, photography, and sculpture at the Manitowoc campus—under the tutelage of Professor Emeritus Beryl Lutsky (now retired) and Associate Professor Lisa Wicka. Ironically, the COVID lockdown made returning to college easier. She began with an online painting class.
But even working remotely, Bazan experienced a level of faculty/student engagement that was absent from her first college experiences at a larger university.
“It was the professors who go that extra step further,” she recalls. “If I had taken a photograph and thought, ‘it would be really cool if I was able to turn into a print, but I don’t know how to do that,’ the professors there would be like, oh, well, we got this. Let’s do that. And they would literally teach me how to do it.”
All these different techniques she learned—from sewing and textiles to printmaking or painting—led Bazan to discover a new path beyond her own art and the next step in her professional development. “I would love to be able to share with people how to do some of those things as part of art therapy.”
And now, having rediscovered her muses, she’s not about to let them slip away again. “It will take me a little bit of time after graduation to work on and show my art.” And though graduation is a milestone to celebrate, she won’t abandon her new mission to help others seek their better world through art. “I would love for everyone to know that a 38-year-old single mother with ADHD was able to get through college.”