‘Charming Baker is an artist who has inspired us both since our school days. He is not only a brilliant painter but also a compelling sculptor. The work weaves so many different themes of tragedy, humour, irony, nature, sex, love, death, in a way that is raw and uncompromising. We have been friends for many years and he really is probably one of the most “charming” and fascinating people you will ever meet. That is definitely part of the appeal of working with him. This year we mutually decided to do a major show together at the Hanover Square gallery, which will allow Charming to present across both floors of the venue. We are very excited and It’ll be Charming’s first major show in several years’. Unit Gallery
Charming Baker studied at the famous London art school Central St Martins, then worked as an international commercial artist, and went on to teach back at Central St Martins.
However, from 2007 he started to show his work at places such as Truman Brewery London 2007, Redchurch Street Gallery London 2009, New York Studio Gallery NYC 2010, Mercer Street London 2011, Milk Studios LA 2013, Sotheby’s S2 London 2016, and many more receiving international acclaims.
Baker has produced sculptural pieces in a wide and varied choice of materials as well as many large-scale and detailed drawings, yet he is primarily a painter with an exploration, narrative and
understanding of the traditions of paintings. His work is very much an exploration of what it means to be human in this the 21st century. As well as identity issues of life, love, death, terror, joy, despair, there is a real sense at the very core of an individual mortal life experience. See within his work, references to the art classics alongside a dark sense of British humour. His titles for each work encourage a disarming humour affording the viewer to engage more fully. To fully feel each work if you like, to reflect back one’s own feelings one’s own complex life journey one’s own realness.
“I’m interested in the turning point between one idea to another, one emotion to another – what I call ‘the flip’. Like an emotional version of riding in a fast car over a humpbacked bridge. (Is a fast car still a fast car when it is stationary?). When one emotion turns to another, when those emotions are strong enough, we can leave our seats and the world behind us, at least for a fleeting moment.
Our world can change without warning. Love, death, joy, despair, they can change our whole world in an instant. I’m interested in when we may have two, three or more strong emotions running through us together at the same time – where these conflicting emotions or ideas resonate/vibrate/rub together. Sometimes art can cause a spark that can sometimes start a fire. I try to fathom the wonderful/dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach.”
Baker is also known to purposefully damage his delicate painting, including drilling, cutting and occasionally shooting them with a shotgun, intentionally and inadvertently putting to question the preciousness of art, and adding to the emotive charge of the work he produces.
His subjects go from animals to everyday life scenes to version of portrait often with a face obscured.
“Not all paintings are self-portraits, but all paintings are a reflection of the self.”
There is much in the way of texture, tone and detail; detail worth engaging with; a reward to the viewer to see into the works in order to laugh, cry, smile, cream but most of all feel the works.
IF I SELL MY SOUL 2018 Oil on panel – routed lettering
SCULPTURE Charming Baker with life-size horse 2019 Fibreglass, reinforced steel.
THE WRONG BRAVE FACE 2016 Oil on linen
WHATEVER DOESN’T KILL ME REMINDS ME I’M NOT IMMORTAL 2013 Oil on linen
I SEE THINGS I DON’T WANT TO BE IN PEOPLE I LIKE THE MOST 2010 Oil and gold leaf on linen
Thanks to Charming Baker Thanks Unit London
Images with thanks Unit London