British artist Charming Baker’s work comes to New York for an exhibition in May.
“Stupid Has A New Hero” opens May 14 and runs through May 30 At NYSG on New York’s Lower East Side. Private view scheduled for May 13.
Art has always been sympatico with rock music. Think Elvis and Warhol, John and Yoko, hip hop and graffiti.
Rock manager Pat Magnarella, the man behind rock giants Green Day, is putting his experience behind a fast-rising UK painter called Charming Baker.
Magnarella – who also manages The Goo Goo Dolls and Oscar winning singer songwriter Ryan Bingham – explains the reason behind the move: “I want to use my experience with guiding and nurturing the careers of musicians to create a similar platform for talented artists. And Charming’s talent is undeniable.”
The relationship has already been crystallized in a controversial video shot in the style of a music promo to publicize the artist’s work. Just like the best rock and rollers, Charming Baker comes armed with his own brand of notoriety.
Along with a paintbrush, the artist also drills, saws and shoots his paintings. A film of Charming blasting one of his works with a shotgun has become cult viewing on YouTube.
“I don’t think that shooting a painting should necessarily take away any part of its decorative appeal,” comments Charming. “If anything it becomes a conversation piece.”
Charming’s upcoming show in New York will feature a painting of Michelle Obama with her face sawn off and stitched back together. The artist will also invite members of the public to crucify themselves with a full-size interactive painting of Christ’s cross.
Asked to describe his work, Charming says: “The effect I’m aiming for is that slightly unnerving feeling you get when you have your arse patted in public – but you’re not exactly sure who’s patting it”.
Magnarella adds, “Charming’s work is as playful as his attitude. His skill with a paintbrush, however, is awesome.”
Art meets controversy: how very rock and roll. Charming Baker’s New York Show, Stupid Has A New Hero, opens May 14 and runs through May 30 at NYSG, 154 Stanton Street (@ Suffolk) on New York’s Lower East Side.
The Private View is 13 May. www.charmingbaker.com.
Artist Charming Baker grew up in army camps around the world. His father was a British commando who taught his son to shoot and hunt. A prodigious art talent Charming was painting at the age of 6.
Settling in working class Yorkshire in the north of England, Baker left school at 15 to work on farms and dig roads. At 21 he was accepted by London’s prestigious Central St Martins College of Art.
A mistrust of the gallery system and an aversion to the pretensions of the art world meant Charming kept his work close to home. He shunned the traditional exhibition route, preferring to sell his work from his South London apartment.
Charming returned to Central St Martins as a lecturer and took commercial work for several high profile clients including LA Times, Esquire, New York Times, Dazed & Confused, The Guardian, the BBC.
What spare time was left was spent painting. In 2006 a collector persuaded Charming to put on an independent exhibition. The result was a sell-out show at The Truman Brewery in London’s East End, with one buyer snapping up five pieces before the exhibition opened.
It was the first of a string of sell-out shows. In 2008 Charming was invited to share a discussion platform with Shepard Fairey, Barak Obama’s choice of artist. And last year Charming was commissioned by Amnesty International to produce a painting for the Blank Canvas Project alongside Brit Art giants Tracy Emin, the Chapman Brothers and Sir Peter Blake.
Baker’s work now sells worldwide. He is embraced by the fine art fraternity, music royalty, taste makers and captains of the creative community. Last summer’s sell-out solo show in London’s Shoreditch was filmed by the BBC for its prime-time news slot.
“Some People Might Think You Look Ridiculous” video:
Charming Baker asks a farmer to shoot his painting with a shotgun www.charmingbaker.com
Man Shoots Charming Baker painting with shotgun
Charming Baker @ the Carmichael Gallery of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles
Video of opening night @ a recent Charming Baker solo show in the UK