Fine Art Trade Guild Award Winner: Best New Artist 2010
Official Artist to the 2012 Olympic Games
Darren Baker has become one of the UK’s most collectable artists since his remarkable portrait of the Queen was unveiled by Princess Anne at Westminster Abbey in 2011. Darren has painted Prime Ministers, Royalty and the sporting elite, and his celebrated works hang in collections from 10 Downing Street and the House of Lords to St James’s Palace. His oil paintings and charcoals have attracted critical and popular acclaim - the Sunday Times described his work as "thrilling" and "virtuosic" - and his paintings are increasingly sought after by art collectors from the UK, Europe, the USA and Japan.
Darren has enjoyed a level of success that most artists only dream of. He has produced an impressive portfolio of figurative work and portraiture, still life and interiors, cityscapes, and animal portraiture which graces many prestigious public and private collections around the world. He has worked alongside and produced paintings for such star sporting names as Lewis Hamilton, Steven Gerrard and Amir Khan, while his non-sporting portraits include HRH Prince Charles and Tony Blair. His portrait of Pope John Paul II was greeted with a personal message of appreciation from the Vatican.
Darren was born in Yorkshire in 1976. Far a young contemporary artist to achieve this kind of status andrecognition is extremely rare and can only be put down to Darren’s unique gift for naturalistic description. The authenticity of his figures causes a momentary confusion in the viewer as each nuance is conveyed with such accuracy and truth that we find ourselves questioning whether we are looking at a beautiful photograph, or an extraordinary painting.
Darren has received numerous awards including The Garrick Prize at Christies, London. He also enjoys a range of artistic appointments including Official Artist to the Professional Footballers’ Association (the PFA) and Official Artist to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He is now acknowledged as one of the leading painters of the classical realism genre, and his style displays the influences of both the Dutch Masters and the contemporary realist school.
As a keen supporter of, and tireless fundraiser for the Prince’s Trust, Darren has worked closely with the charity and has been personally thanked by the Prince of Wales for his ongoing contribution to the success of many major projects.
A personal message from Darren
“Whenever I talk to interviewers, gallery owners or collectors, there are two questions I can almost guarantee will crop up at some point. The first is “how do you create such realistic images?” and second is, “why?”. The first is easy to answer. I have been honing my technique for over 10 years, and have been down many different paths in pursuit of authenticity. I have developed an extremely rigorous technique which achieves exactly the style I have been working towards, and I have described every stage of my compositional process in my book, ‘The Quest for Perfection.’
“The second question is slightly more difficult. In the early days I was far looser and less disciplined when I worked, but I neverfelt quite satisfied when I finished a painting. I had and still have a huge respect for two particular styles in art, that the Dutch masters, and portrait photography. What these have in common is an astonishing attention to everydetail, an ability to communicate every nuance from the shadow below a cheekbone to a stitch in the sleeve of an evening gown. I yearned to be able to mirror life in that much detail. I had no ambition to interpret or embellish a scene, rather I wanted to communicate it in all its glorious reality. Ever since I recognised this need in myself I have been on a quest for perfection in art.”