Charming Baker art is a favourite among art enthusiasts, and features in many international collections. The artist has enjoyed solo exhibitions in London, LA and New York, and we are delighted to now represent the artist at Maddox Gallery.
Those looking to buy Charming Baker art have the choice of mediums, including oil paint on canvas, linen, wood and paper, as well as large-scale detailed prints and drawings, and sculptural work cast in bronze and aluminium. His work is simultaneously beautiful and disturbing, and often touches on the eternal topics of nature, sex, love, loss and death.
“I don’t have the words to explain the joy and terror in life, the way they coexist” – Charming Baker
If you are looking to invest in Charming Baker art, you’re in good company. The artist counts Johnny Depp among his celebrity collectors, and the artist has sold to some of the world’s most notable collectors including Frank Cohen, Harry Blain, Richard Kirshenbaum and Alberto Mugrabi. Charming Baker’s art has also been championed by Damien Hirst, who reportedly bought up his works in bulk at an early New York show.
“It’s hard to say exactly what makes a painting great… Its flatness and its depth, its ease and its complexity, a kind of preciousness that’s also kind of throwaway, a risk factor. Who gives a damn? Charming Baker’s paintings are great.”- Damien Hirst
The designer Paul Smith didn’t just purchase a number of Charming Baker artworks. He also positioned Baker as the global ambassador of the Paul Smith London line, and collaborated with the artist on a sculpture entitled ‘Triumph in the Face of Absurdity’ which was shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum for the 2012 Olympics.
From guest editing a special art edition of the Big Issue magazine, to creating a visual focus for a global summit held by charity War Child, to working with Penguin to illustrate a set of book covers for Roald Dahl’s short stories, Charming Baker art is well and truly entering the mainstream.
Born in Hampshire in 1964, Alan Baker spent much of his early life travelling around the world following his British Army Commando father. After living on various Army bases, the family settled in Yorkshire when he was 12. He left school at 15 and worked on a farm as a road digger, painting in his spare time. In fact, ‘Charming’ was an affectionate nickname gifted to him in his labouring days.
At 20, Charming Baker took night classes for the O-levels needed to start an art foundation course in Harrogate. A year later he enrolled to study graphic design at Central Saint Martins in London, where he later returned as a lecturer. His education in graphic design can be
noted in his art, in the patterned backgrounds painted on his canvases.
After graduating in 1988, Charming Baker worked as a commercial graphic designer and illustrator for companies including the BBC and The Daily Telegraph, while he created oil paintings which were stashed under the bed and occasionally sold to friends and family.
It was only in 2006 when journalist Tim Fennell inquired about a painting on a friend’s wall. He then visited Baker’s flat, buying four works for around £500 each and persuading Baker to let him organise an exhibition on Brick Lane in east London.
In 2008, a successful exhibition in LA came to the attention of Pat Magnarella, the manager of rock band Green Day. While Magnarella hadn’t represented artists before, he felt that there were parallels between acting for painters and musicians, and flew Baker to the US to
work on a deal. A New York show soon followed.
Charming Baker art is primarily focused on painting, and identifies himself as a ‘traditionalist.’ He uses a muted colour palette and understated sensibility, and animals (and their relationship with man) often appear in his work. He also has an interest in narrative and an understanding of the tradition of painting.
Baker cites the simplicity and romanticism of John Constable’s landscapes as an influence, as well as the master horse painter George Stubbs.
“I’m dealing with the big themes of life that you can’t date, the same issues dealt with by Voltaire, Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Cervantes. I like the medium of paint, but what I’m interested in is the idea of reality and unreality, the human condition, death.” – Charming Baker
However, he is also known to purposefully damage his work by drilling, cutting and even shooting it. By doing so, he intentionally questions the fragility and value of art and the definition of beauty, adding to the emotive charge of the work he produces.
In Charming Baker’s studio, an air rifle hangs on the wall. It’s just a tool like a paintbrush, he explains, simply another way of making marks. He once wanted to see if he could ‘draw by shooting’, and now many of his paintings include holes.
“Nothing is only ever one thing. I don’t see why I shouldn’t bend, shape or break an image to alter its original meaning, if only to entertain… I like to take people along a path which leads them to a place they don’t expect to be.” – Charming Baker
Charming Baker admires many street artists and aligns himself with their anti-establishment attitude, though his work has little to do with the politics or aesthetics of the movement.
In the art world Baker is something of a guerrilla, having fought his way to the top without following the established path to success. His unorthodox marketing methods favour online channels, such as social networks, internet forums and YouTube.
Beyond its role as a promotional medium, the internet is also a source of inspiration, offering up endless imagery that can be altered. He is similarly inspired by old photos from Seventies magazines, the Natural History Museum, British weather and bleak pub humour. Retro wallpaper designs often feature as a backdrop for the images he creates, and the
models for his paintings and sculptural moulds are often his own children.
Charming Baker art has “something more, a kind of romantic melancholy that is very British. And sometimes the melancholy turns out to have sharp claws. The pictures make you sit up and examine your conscience.” – Edward Lucie-Smith