Charming Baker is an English painter and sculptor who is known for deliberately damaging his paintings by cutting, drilling and even shooting them to provoke a discussion about the perceived value and preciousness of art.

Born in Hampshire in 1964, he left school at 16 and worked as a labourer (he gained the nickname ‘Charming’ while digging roads) before studying Graphic Design at Central Saint Martin’s in the mid 1980s. He worked as a commercial designer for many years, developing his painting in his spare time, and his reputation as an artist grew by word of mouth through friends rather than through the conventional art world routes.

Between 2007 and 2010 Baker exhibited his work at the Truman Brewery, the Redchurch Street Gallery and in New York but it was his 2011 show at London’s Mercer Street Studios that established him as one of the art world’s most exciting new names. In 2012 he collaborated on a sculpture with the fashion designer Paul Smith for the London 2012 Olympics. The piece, titled ‘Triumph in the face of absurdity’ was displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Baker’s 2013 exhibition in Los Angeles, entitled ‘Lie Down I Think I Love You’ gained him a huge following in America.

 

 

Although he aligns himself with the anti-establishment outlook of street artists like Banksy, Baker describes himself as a ‘traditionalist’. His work tackles universal themes such as love, death and life, underpinned with a dark humour and an appreciation and understanding of the tradition of painting (he cites George Stubbs and John Constable as influences.)

One of his biggest champions, Damien Hirst says of Baker’s work; “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.”

Charming Baker makes limited edition prints with Jealous - a contemporary gallery which is known for its collaborative approach to producing limited edition prints with artists, galleries, designers and museums. The two Jealous galleries in Shoreditch and Crouch End show monthly exhibitions on a rotating basis, featuring some of the best editions to come out of the Jealous studio in both artist-led and curated group exhibitions. Work by Jealous artists can be found in Tate Modern, The Imperial War Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum and internationally in Melbourne, Paris, LA, Cape Town and New York.

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