Gary Baseman (born September 27, 1960)[1] is a contemporary and pervasive artist, who is also creator of Teacher's Pet.

Early life

He was born in California to a Jewish family, the son of Holocaust survivors Ben (1916-2010), an electrician, and Naomi Baseman (1921-2012),[2] who worked at the Canter's Deli for nearly forty years.[3] Both of his parents and their families were from Poland (which, at that time, was part of Russia, and is now known as Ukraine).[4] The couple met each other at a relocation camp after the war, and soon had three children together.

They moved to Los Angeles in 1958, where their fourth and youngest child, Gary, was born.[2] As both of his parents were older than most at his birth (44 and 39, respectively), Gary was much younger than his older siblings, who had all left home by the time he was 9 years old.[3]

Baseman began drawing at an early age. His father encouraged his artistic side, always asking him to draw another picture for him.[2] However, Baseman had no interest in attending art school, as he felt the things drawn there were "boring".[2]

Believing that art would not work as a job, he enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he was part of the Phi Betta Kappa fraternity.[5] He graduated from UCLA in 1982.[6]

Baseman considered being a lawyer as a profession, even interning for the FCC,[2] and worked in advertising. Baseman eventually decided to pursue art as a career, beginning as a commercial artist, particularly for magazines.[7]


He expanded his art repertoire by painting, illustrating, designing toys,[8] making fine art, and even designing a board game, Cranium.[9] His illustrations have appeared in the following: Rolling Stone, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The New Yorker and Time.[10]

During the 1990s, Baseman created two pilots for Nickelodeon, which were both about two pets, each named Louie, one being a chameleon and the other a hamster. The original remained unaired though it is available for viewing on Vimeo here, but the latter was shown on television, on the Nickelodeon series KaBlam!. It never made it to series, much to Baseman's sadness.[11]

However, he would bounce back in 2000, when his series, Teacher's Pet, was greenlit. It ran for two seasons, and although it never attracted a large audience, it earned three Emmy Awards, one of which was for Baseman himself, in the category of art director.[11] A movie, also by the name of Teacher's Pet, was created to properly end the series. Despite positive reviews from critics, it was a box office bomb, which Baseman blames is on Disney's part for poor marketing.[11]

Following the film, Baseman has concentrated on his art exhibitions, particularly ones about his character Toby.[12]

Definition of "pervasive art"

Baseman is also known for coining the term "pervasive art", describing himself and his works as such. He explains what it means: "Pervasive art knocks down the walls of all the different media; it’s my own definition. As long as you stay true to your aesthetic, and you have a strong message, you can put your art on anything. So you can mix fashion, or put it on skateboards, or TV, or video, or in an installation, or a gallery, you know? But the strength of the work is based on the concept, the idea, and the aesthetic, and not necessarily where it is placed or how it is used. And so that’s where pervasive art came around, and I used that term because I hated all the other terms."[7] He recognizes his art style is often seen as "cartoony" and "pop art", which he disagrees with; he categorizes his art as pervasive art instead.[11]

Personal life

He married Mary Williges, an illustrator, in 1983.[13] They divorced after 11 years of marriage.[5]

Teacher's Pet episodes written


  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4
  3. 3.0 3.1
  5. 5.0 5.1
  7. 7.0 7.1
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3

External links