What is considered art changes constantly. Trevor Bashaw decided to push the boundaries with their Brosseau Creativity Award-winning piece, “Some Queer Shit.”
Graduating this spring, Bashaw is studying English with a focus in creative writing and a minor in art history. They put both into their work and incorporates other themes they’re interested in, such as queer studies and environmentalism.
Using inspiration from various famous queer artists throughout history, they said their art is experience-driven.
“A lot of my art is compiling found material or old journal entries and poems,” Bashaw said. “I like to put them together into some sort of assemblage of memories and senses.”
“Some Queer Shit” takes that to the next level. The work is interactive and resembles a large book. It’s a collection of pages that can be turned to reveal different objects and writing. Originally made as a class project, it’s a protest piece about environmentalism and “queer anarchism” made up of information about the ideologies as well as personal items. Bashaw even went as far as to urinate on one of the pages.
“It’s very tactile. I was interested in creating an experience rather than reading text on a page,” Bashaw said. “It’s not just writing; it’s not just visual art; there’s a lived component to the way I do art.”
This led to them entering their piece into the multimedia category of the Brosseau Creativity Award, given out by the Spencer Museum of Art to KU students who show “outstanding creativity” in their work.
Part of why they creates art is because they like to explore how people view art and their relationship with it.
“I’m really interested in deconstructing the definition of art and the way we view it as separate from our everyday lives when everyday things can be artful experiences,” Bashaw said.
University of Kansas senior Rachel Atakpa has been awarded the Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award.
Rachel Atakpa, another student who won the Brosseau Creativity Award last year, is a close friend of Bashaw and is planning to work on future projects with them, including starting an artist collective and a garden together.
“Trevor and I are friends for a lot of reasons and one of those reasons is art,” Atakpa said. “A lot of our work explores the nature of pollutants in the environment and Trevor incorporates a lot of interesting elements into their work making it very engaging, entertaining, and relevant.”
Outside of that, they both like to explore the relationship between art and society.
“It’s interesting how the institution interacts with art that’s critical of the things that they uphold,” Atakpa said.
After finishing their degree in May, Bashaw is going to continue with art outside of the University.
“I like to take my personal experience and extrapolate it through various critical lenses,” Bashaw said. “I have to make art — I do it out of necessity at this point.”