Brighton-based Lee Baker studied Fine Art at Newcastle University.
As a developing artist in the 90′s, Lee Baker produced numerous site-specific pop installation pieces across the UK, drawing on his experience customizing cars and a fascination with manga. His interest in large-scale installations subsequently led to a further development of his skills, working as a scenic artist for The National Theatre and English National Opera.
Having honed his craft as a multidisciplinary commercial artist, Baker’s fine art practice went on to explore Japanese historical imagery and its influence on the west. After visits to Japan in 2010, a year before the Japanese tsunami, he began to work on a series of paintings depicting stark visions of the seemingly indestructible meta-city against the indiscriminate forces of nature.
Drawing on the narrative and scenic elements of films such as Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, Disney’s Tron and further exploring the idea of a self aware ‘thinking’ city, developed in films such as ‘Tekkonkinkreet’ and Makoto Shinkai’s ‘A Place Promised in our Early Years’, Lee Baker’s painstaking large-format paintings and installations utilized vivid colour and extreme perspective to ‘build’ meta-cities and architectural environments, often set against a stormy backdrop of ashen clouds, pending night and potential destruction.
More recently, while working on an MA in Japanese Studies at SOAS University, Baker has begun to stylistically move away from the graphical elements influenced by anime, concentrating instead on ideas and concepts that are not only part of Japanese cultural heritage, but also rooted in personal experience.
Referencing the Japanese concept of mono no aware or ‘pathos of things’, Lee Baker’s paintings latest paintings are both exquisite and delicate. Where the memento mori in Western art reminds us of our mortality, the symbol of a flower in Japanese art specifically highlights the sad beauty of the temporal nature of living things. Baker’s paintings dislocate the dying flower from context, symbolically locating the moment where deterioration begins.
Lee Baker is also co-founder of Skip Gallery.back to artists