Charming Baker Artist Biography

Charming Baker paints in oil on canvas, linen, wood and paper, and creates sculptural work cast in bronze and aluminium. He has had a string of international sell-out shows, and his work fetches upwards of 40,000. His fans include Damien Hirst, British collector Frank Cohen, gallerist Harry Blain and New York dealer Alberto Mugrabi (who owns the world's largest Warhol collection), Born in Hampshire 1964, Charming Baker spent much of his early life travelling around the world following his father, a Commando in the British Army. At the age of 12, he and his family finally settled in Ripon, North Yorkshire. Charming Baker left school at 15 to work as a road digger. He went to London aged 21 and sneaked into the graphic design course at the prestigious Central Saint Martin. He didn't want to be a graphic designer, but the course seemed more open-spirited. After graduation, Baker worked as a teacher at the Central Saint Martin and did other odd jobs while continuing to paint at home. His graphic-design training can be seen in his work in the patterned backgrounds he likes to paint on most of his canvases.

In early 2006, the graffiti-art enthusiast Tim Fennell heard about Baker's work. He visited Charming Baker’s flat, bought four works for about £500 each, and persuaded Charming Baker to let him organise an exhibition at the Truman Brewery, a hire space on Brick Lane in east London favoured by trendy urban artists. In 2008 a successful exhibition in Los Angeles came to the attention of Pat Magnarella, the manager of the rock band Green Day. Pat Magnarella hadn't represented artists before, but felt that there were parallels between acting for painters and musicians. Roger Klein, creative director for Pat Magnarella, put his publicity machine into action and organised a sell-out Shoreditch show. The show made people want in, people such as Damien Hirst. His career has sky rocketed ever since. He's exhibited internationally, and has shown work at the Lever House on Park Avenue, New York, which has previously hosted exhibitions by Jeff Koons and Keith Haring.

Charming Baker's work is figurative, and painterly. He calls himself a 'traditionalist'. It is sometimes dark and often humorous, with sharp and clever titles. It is simultaneously beautiful and disturbing. His biggest influence, he says, is the master horse painter George Stubbs. Animals (and their relationship with man) frequently crop up in his paintings. He also admires the romanticism of John Constable's landscapes. The subjects he's obsessed with are, like most artists, sex and death. He likes the medium of paint, but what he is interested in is the idea of reality and unreality, the human condition, death. He has shot paintings and drilled holes in them because he's interested in the dichotomies of existence. In an interview with GQ magazine he said, “I don't have the words to explain the joy and terror in life, the way they coexist”. He believes that death poses the question of whether it's worth doing anything, but the answer is yes, because the moment is intensely important. Charming Baker considers his work to be 'grassroots', with muted colours and understated sensibility. He is often inspired by old photos from Seventies magazines. He enjoys finding odd details, like a piece of tape or a shadow across a hand. He's visited Natural History Museums for inspiration, and even had tea with a woman who owns 200 rabbits. He embraces dreary British things like the weather and bleak pub humour, which he finds intrinsically romantic. The models for his paintings and sculptural moulds are often is own children; between them, he and his wife have five.

Solo exhibitions include the Truman Brewery London 2007, Redchurch Street Gallery London 2009, New York Studio Gallery NYC 2010, Mercer Street London 2011 and Milk Studios LA 2013.  He has also exhibited with the Fine Art Society, collaborated with the British fashion legend Sir Paul Smith who has not only bought a number of Charming Baker paintings, but has also installed Charming Baker as the global ambassador of the Paul Smith London line. Paul Smith photographed Charming Baker for a campaign himself and has underwritten a short film about the artist. The two have collaborated on a sculpture, Triumph in the Face of Absurdity, for the London 2012: Britain Creates' project which celebrated the year of London hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The piece, an aluminium cast of a carbon track bike, was on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Although primarily a painter with an interest in narrative and an understanding of the tradition of painting, Baker has produced sculptural pieces in a wide and varied choice of materials, (from the anciently traditional to the not so). 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. The fact that his real name is Alan in no way undermines Charming Baker's natural charm.

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”.

More art prints from Charming Baker

The Wrong Brave Face By Charming Baker
Man Falls By Charming Baker
Jane Doe By Charming Baker By Charming Baker
Dignity Rides A Tricky Pony By Charming Baker
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