Darren Baker

Ballet Shoes II by Darren Baker
Ballet Shoes I by Darren Baker
Reflections Of London by Darren Baker
City Lights - Rome by Darren Baker
Bright Lights - Monte Carlo by Darren Baker
Street Lights - Paris by Darren Baker
Reflected Lights - Venice by Darren Baker
London Nights IV by Darren Baker
London Nights III by Darren Baker
London Nights II by Darren Baker
London Nights I by Darren Baker
Prelude by Darren Baker
Interlude by Darren Baker
Femme Provocatuer II by Darren Baker
To be perfectly honest there are very few people out there who can say that theyíve painted Teddy Sheringhamís likeness, and if they are one of the select few theyíre prone to keep it to themselves. However, statistically, there are even fewer artists who profess (and can actually substantiate) the fact that theyíve painted HRH The Queen. As in, THE Queen. Step forward Darren Baker (although he wasnít actually knighted for his services to painting royalty, just for the record), the (very) renown contemporary portrait and figurative artist who clearly comes by royal appointment. Like certain fruity preserves, only slightly less well known. Not that Bakerís considerable light will remain hidden under a bushel much longer, now that the catís out of the bag about his right royal compositioning.
Born in Yorkshire in 1976, Baker is all about tradition and is four square agin the age of conceptual art in which we live; which he says relies heavily on transient ideas rather than technique. If it was up to Baker heíd force a return to the times and illustrative values of the Old Masters, and fervently believes that theirs was the true age of craftsmanship. But before the letters of complaint flood in, Baker wants it to be known that heís not entirely averse to contemporary art per se, and freely admits that when confronted with the works of, say, someone like Jackson Pollock for example, he can recognize innovation, quality and skill when he sees it. Itís just that in his estimation thereís also a lot of what he deems sub-standard work knocking around today too; especially in terms of visual execution. In Bakerís own words he stresses; ďTo be honest, I prefer exhibits at the National Gallery and Royal Academy of ArtsĒ.

Itís of less surprise then to learn that amongst Bakerís artistic heroes as such is Rembrandt, who he insists had an uncanny knack of bringing the character of his subject matter to the canvas with such devastatingly detailed effect. Indeed, when asked to describe his own style, Baker again hints at the fabled works of the Old Masters and how he himself has habitually learnt the effects championed by the pioneers of this movement by studying them intently, whilst almost channelling their signature presentations with his own favoured pastels. Itís a skill which Baker has painstakingly nurtured, developed and evolved during the past decade or so of his professional artistic career, and adhering to that old adage, Bakerís practice has certainly made perfect in the eyes of todayís art collectors and critics alike.
After graduating from art college, Baker showcased his early works in London and by the age of just 23 years received invitation to exhibit a selection of his paintings at a UK millennium event in, of all places, New York. Just to underline how well Bakerís work went down, it was later that year in which he was approached (and subsequently appointed) official artist of The Professional Footballer's Association (PFA); a globally acknowledged organisation who evidently saw something special in Bakerís work. Since then Baker has been graphically tasked (and to a certain degree, contractually obliged) with capturing the illustrative likeness of a host of famous name sportsmen and women in that capacity alone. The household name likes of Formula 1 stars past and present, Nigel Mansell and Lewis Hamilton, former and current Premier League footballers, John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Ruud van Nistelrooy, (the aforementioned) Teddy Sheringham, David Ginola, Peter Schmeichel and Henrik Larsson, boxer, Prince Naseem and rugbyís very own, Jonny Wilkinson. Amongst Bakerís non-sporting seated muses, there have been portraits of HRH Prince Charles and Tony Blair which are said to hang in St James Palace and Downing Street respectively.
For the artist from Yorkshire whoís now in his 30s though, the pinnacle of his career to date has obviously been HRH Queen Elizabeth II sitting for him, and by far the most important professional milestone reached so far. It came about in the aftermath of creating several painting on the subject of Windsor at the bequest of Lloyds Bank, who approached Baker with the commission. Apparently, and so the story goes, someone spotted the results of Bakerís pictorial labours and was so impressed with what they witnessed that Buckingham Palaceís office were contacted. The portrait was unveiled at Westminster Abbey in September 2011 and was released to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion, and has remained at the Legionís South London HQ since; whilst on the back of its revealing the idea of Christmas card prints were suggested. Incidentally, and straight from the horseís mouth (or at least, Bakerís) is confirmation that it was his choice of dress, hat and seated position in which The Queen was asked to take during the sitting.
Baker relocated to the Cotswolds from his native Yorkshire where he has his studio and finds it the perfect makeweight between London (an hourís drive) and a more rural bolthole away from the hustle and bustle of city living. As you can imagine, Baker has been the recipient of numerous awards and industry accolades during his relatively short time as a professional fine artist, amongst which are his ĎBest Artistí gong (as handed out by the Fine Art Trade Guild) and The Garrick Prize, as Baker was honoured with by Christies in London. His paintings are much in-demand and hang in both public and private art collections and has held exhibitions extensively here in the UK as well as in America and Japan.

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