Charming Baker’s preoccupation with mortality and the transience of personal experience could stray into morbidity, however the artist’s wry wit and rather British self-deprecation anchor the works on the threshold of vitality and something more poignant. Like day into night; life into death, Baker’s work exists in the twilight hour between.
Edward Lucie-Smith has claimed Baker’s work makes you “sit up and examine your conscience.” Although he has historically produced works in oil with an emphasis on narrative, his more recent creations have included sculptural pieces which explore transience and the naive innocence of childhood. At times purposefully damaging his canvases by drilling and cutting into them, he occasionally pierces them with gunshots. These methods bring our preconceptions of the sanctity of art into disrepute and add some emotional flavour to the work. Examining the very nature of art-making and its perceived preciousness, Baker's intentional erasure and damaged elements bring into question the emotional relationship we hold with art and society’s assumptions about beauty and perfection. “Nothing is only ever one thing. I don’t see why I shouldn’t bend or break an image to alter its original meaning, if only at least to entertain. Hopefully the work isn’t without a sense of humour.”
Born in Hampshire in 1964, Baker spent a large part of his early childhood travelling with his father, a Commando in the British Army. Baker left school at 16 and undertook a number of manual jobs. After returning to college in 1985, he began studying at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Baker also worked as a commercial graphic designer and illustrator for the BBC and The Daily Telegraph, all the while creating oil paintings which were stashed under his bed and occasionally sold to friends and family. It was only in 2006 that Baker was persuaded to partake in an exhibition on Brick Lane in East London, when a journalist enquired about a painting on a friend's wall, consequentially purchasing four pieces. Baker's most recent exhibition titled, “Easy Come, Easy Go” at The Vinyl Factory in Soho showcased the artist’s tongue-in-cheek exploration of mortality with a large number of his bronze sculptures, paintings and prints.