Baker in front of 'I Like You Fantastically Well But For All The Wrong Reasons'. Oil and router on wood

Charming Baker is back in London with a new pop-up exhibition that previews this evening at Mercer Street Studios (16 Mercer Street), an attractive space in Covent Garden. AM had a nose around the venue during the final preparations to check out Baker’s recent canvases, prints, as well as sculptures — a medium we haven’t associated with him before. All the canvases have already pre-sold, which may help to explain why the artist appeared so relaxed on the eve of his show.

Every Thing Must Go will be open daily (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.) from Friday 8 July until Sunday 31 July. See additional text and photos after the jump.

'I Like You Fantastically Well But For All The Wrong Reasons' (detail)

'Every Safety Net Has A Hole In It'. Oil on linen

'All I Want Is For Times To Change Until I Hit Some Good Ones' (black). Patina and polished bronze. Edition of 9

'God's Gift'. Oil and acrylic on paper and wood

'I Hope Life's Not A Joke Because I Don't Find It Funny'. Oil, acrylic and drill hole on wood

'I Hope Life's Not A Joke Because I Don't Find It Funny' (detail)

'One Day We Will Reach A Point Where Our Future Is All Used Up' (detail)

With a strength of work produced by Charming Baker remaining consistent over the years, the big change for the artist has been in his career trajectory — especially since 2009 when (not long after Logan Hicks) he began to be promoted by Pat Magnarella, who manages the likes of Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls and The All-American Rejects.

AM admits that an auto-response of scepticism was triggered by the very idea of an American music manager taking an artist from North Yorkshire under his wing. There was certainly a wide scope for irreconcilable cultural differences with this union. However, our original concerns appear to have been unfounded. In the last two years, interest in Baker’s art has snowballed. Not surprisingly, so have his prices. At his The Meaning of Everything show on Redchurch Street in East London in June 2009, we recall seeing canvases for sale in the region of £4,000 to £6,000 (roughly US$6,400 to US$9,600). Today, you’d need about ten times that amount for a look-in. Charming Baker paintings are now owned by Damien Hirst, Alberto Mugrabi, Frank Cohen (the so-called “Saatchi of the North”) and, most recently, billionaire Philip Niarchos — reputed owner of, among other works, Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear. That’s quite a roster of collectors. As for Pat Magnarella, we understand he’s expanded his management / marketing services and now also represents athletes as well as artists D*Face and Chris Levine.

Dario Illari of Jealous Gallery with Baker signing show posters

Illari, Baker, and Roger Klein (right) of Pat Magnarella Management

Text and photographs by Patrick Nguyen.
Discuss Charming Baker here.