Biography of Charming Baker
Less than ten years ago Charming Baker was working as an unknown illustrator in his council flat in East London, today he is collected by Damien Hirst, Sir Paul Smith, and mega-collectors Alberto Mugrabi and Frank Cohen. Something of a rebel in the art world, Baker owes his rise to the internet and word of mouth, rather than to traditional representation by galleries and dealers. Managed by Pat Magnarella ,the former manager of American punk rock Band “Green Day”, Baker is an outsider who shares the attitudes and outlooks of London’s anti-establishment graffiti artists.
The son of an army officer and a nurse, Charming Baker (nee Alan Baker, 1964) was brought up in Yorkshire. After leaving school at just fifteen, he spent five years working on a farm in Ripon (where he acquired the nickname Charming). From a young age Baker harbored artistic ambitions, and, after taking evening classes, he managed to get a place studying graphic design at Central Saint Martins, London.
Perhaps surprisingly, Charming Baker is a self-proclaimed “traditionalist” and claims to take inspiration from both George Stubbs and John Constable. His techniques are far from traditional, however, and he purposefully damages his work by cutting, drilling, and even on occasions shooting it. In doing so Baker questions “the preciousness of art and the definition of its beauty”. Baker’s works are mainly figurative, showing a particular penchant for painting animals. Despite his choice of often humorous subject matter, Baker’s works possess dark and unsettling undertones.
Charming Baker has had solo exhibitions at the Truman Brewery and Redchurch Street Gallery in London. He has also had solo exhibitions around the world, including at the New York Studio Gallery in 2010 and Los Angeles’ Milk Studio in 2013. He collaborated with Sir Paul Smith for the sculpture entitled Triumph in the Face of Absurdity which was displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2012. Recently he illustrated new editions of Roald Dahl’s adult short stories. Charming Baker lives and works in London.