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  • Writer's pictureSandy Aziz

Meet the UK Artists heading to the Basel Art Summer Camp

Updated: 2 hours ago

Affordable art? During Art Basel? Where? 

ICYMI: Basel Art Summer Camp is the new kid on the block – a weeklong creative community-driven initiative to showcase emerging artists’ work during the week of Art Basel. In just a little over a month, there will be eight artists from all over the world and six content creators/writers meeting during Art Basel week and setting up base in Hyve Hostel. Three of the artists are travelling from the United Kingdom, and as the UK correspondent, I thought it was fitting to introduce these fantastic three: Maggie Williams, Lex Lee, and Stella Griffiths Lynch. 

Dinner with the UK artists heading to the Basel Art Summer Camp
Dinner with the UK artists heading to the Basel Art Summer Camp

Since we are spilling the tea about the UK crew, first up is Maggie Williams, a British-Chinese artist based in Lewisham. Her craft explores themes surrounding cultural identity and the effects of the second generation diaspora. Next up, is Lex Lee, a London-based artist and illustrator from Hong Kong who works with watercolours and coloured pencils to immerse her audience in culture. Last, but certainly not least, is Stella Griffiths Lynch, whose fantastic Instagram bio reads “weird arty girl in ur yr.”  

Here is what you need to know about the UK trio heading to Art Basel Summer Camp ahead of June: 

artists Stella Griffiths-Lynch at her studio with paintings
Meet the artist: Stella Griffiths-Lynch

How long have you been an artist and when did you start?

Maggie Williams (MW): I'd say something changed in my way of thinking after my older sister took me to see the YBAs (Young British Artists) at the Saatchi Gallery on South Bank when I was around 12 or 13 years old. The idea that art could be an oil-filled room or a photograph of a severed head at the mortuary was eye-opening as a teen. I started to emulate my sister: whenever she got a graphic design project from college, I would sit with her and copy / reimagine the briefs in my own battered notebooks. Officially, I became an artist when I decided to pursue the arts in the late 2000s by enrolling in my local Art Foundation course before leaving home to go to "Art School." The rest is history!

Lex Lee (LL): I have been drawing since I was three. My dad likes to paint, and he has been a huge influence. I started drawing wherever I could - on the peeled-off wallpaper at home, in the blank spaces of my primary school textbooks, and even on test papers (which got me scolded by the teacher afterwards). Growing up, I pursued business as it seemed like a more 'stable' option, and I was about to give up art once and for all. After graduating, I got my first full-time job in marketing, but my mind was constantly exploding with creative ideas. I decided to take a leap of faith and move to Rotterdam to study Fine Art at Willem de Kooning Academy. During that short year, I had the opportunity to venture into abstract painting, sculpture, installations, performances, and more. Two years ago, I made another big decision to leave the program in Rotterdam and move to London. I had travelled to London years ago and knew right away that it was the place for me. London is the most vibrant and diverse city I’ve ever experienced, bursting with energy and culture. Just two months ago, I had my first exhibition in London, marking my official debut as an artist.

Stella Griffiths Lynch (SGL): From a young age, I've always seen myself as an artist, with art being the one subject where I consistently did well throughout school. It wasn't until after completing my degree that I began selling my artwork and realising that I could turn my passion into a viable profession (which isn't easy!) This transition into viewing myself as more professional was a great feeling and so was the feeling that people wanted to pay for my work. I still feel like I'm at the beginning! As cliche as it may sound, it’s just mainly about creating great paintings.

Artist Maggie Williams in her Studio
Meet the artist: Maggie Williams

What attracted you to this Basel Art Summer Camp and what are you hoping to gain from the experience?

MW: Despite having worked in London art galleries for most of my professional career, I've never been to Art Basel due to lack of funding / annual leave. I was attracted to the idea of a space actually being affordable and accessible for artists and the public alike. Especially during such a prestigious citywide fair. I also wanted to keep the momentum going in my own practice whilst meeting other like-minded characters and forging long-lasting relationships. One week is a great motivation for everyone involved to make the most of the short duration!

LL: During my time in Hong Kong, I frequently visited the Hong Kong Art Basel. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to experience Basel in its namesake city. The Basel Art Summer Camp immediately caught my attention. It is a wonderful concept to bring together artists from around  the world. I’m eager to meet artists and art writers, showcase my art, and have an unforgettable experience. I have plans to co-create an art piece with the people of Basel through an interactive performance. I’ll also be hosting a drawing workshop on the theme of dreams. I'm excited to connect with new people, particularly art enthusiasts, throughout the camp.

SGL: The founder of Art Basel Summer Camp, Monica, reached out to me because of a painting I created for a well-known rapper, which circulated online and caught her attention! Our conversations blossomed from there, with Monica proposing exciting ideas about fostering a community for female artists, leveraging the influence of her home in Basel within the art industry. The prospect of showcasing my work and also immersing myself in a community of like-minded individuals while experiencing Basel's vibrant art and summer scene deeply resonated with me.

Artist Lex Lee with blue background
Meet the artist: Lex Lee

Is there anything else you want us to know about you/your art ahead of the camp? 

MW: I will be exhibiting one of my newest pieces made from 100 emptied English tea bags alongside a few prints, paper collages, and a limited edition zine. I'll also be hosting a paper collage workshop that will invite guests to explore and play with materials; watch this space for more info!

LL: I will be doing pop-up art performances on the streets of Basel during the camp, and I encourage all to participate. Stay tuned to my Instagram for updates. See you soon in Basel!

SGL: Central to my art practice is the belief that each piece should convey a story or carry metaphorical significance. I'm looking forward to showing my latest works, eager to hear the diverse interpretations they evoke in viewers. This interplay between my creations and the perceptions they inspire is what drives my artistic journey, continually pushing me to explore new themes and narratives in my work while referencing everyday society, whether it's a personal or universal experience. 

Artists from the Basel Art Summer Camp having dinner
A mandatory dinner selfie with the artists

You can visit us at our pop-up art gallery and art shop between 13th and 15th June 2024 at Hyve Hostel in Basel. RSVP here:

For more on the artists:

Maggie Williams - Instagram & Website

Stella Griffiths Lynch - Instagram 

Lex will also be hosting a workshop on Friday that you can sign up to here:

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