First published in Arts in Leicester magazine on July 2012. (The magazine has now closed down.)
We discovered Michael Barker, a local artist who has produced a phenomenal output of work. We went to see his studio and saw a tiny fraction of the thousands of items that he produced over the years.
An exhibition of the work of Michael Barker can be seen at The West End Gallery from 11th March to 9th April 2016
Scroll down for a biography of the artist
Here is a selection of the works of Michael Barker (reproduced with his kind permission)
Michael Barker was born in Leicester and studied art at Leicester College of Art where he obtained the National Diploma in Design.
He has been classed as one of the country’s top showman’s artists, being fully experienced in lettering, calligraphy and design.
It has been said that Michael Barker involves himself in too many artistic styles and that he should put all his energies into one way of painting. Through the years, Michael has always been very much against this idea and believes that he should use, to the fullest extent, all his large array of talents as an artist.
His abilities range from design work and ceramics to fine, modern and traditional styles. We do not know of another artist who has ever been able to put his own personal mark on such a variety of subjects.
This makes his work able to please most tastes. Far from being a bad thing, we firmly believe that it is just the opposite, showing just what being an artist is all about.
His works are art – full of human feeling – they are living pieces. Not, as so much art is doing these days, being slick and doing no more than what a good photographer would do.
Michael Barker’s paintings grow on you as you enjoy them more and more. Decoration, graphics, calligraphy, furniture painting, ceramics, drawings and paintings – all these subjects having unmistakably his own personality stamped on them.
We believe that Michael Barker’s work will become highly prized in years to come.
An important part of Michael Barker’s art is his pictures of Fairground scenes. Fairs were, and indeed still are, an exciting and colourful aspect of English life. There are have been a few painters working on this subject matter. Michael has made this his specialty, bringing out the movement and atmosphere associated with fairgrounds. He brings to life the work of the showman and the fun of the fair.
Michael Barker’s modern pictures are an evolution of his work in the early 1960s. His ideas started with an effect of light and shadows and the play of reflections on various surfaces. Sometimes these turned into complete abstractions; into which he introduces a dream like effect; an extraordinary combination of traditionalism and modernism to create pleasing and interesting pictures. The viewer is transported from the worries of everyday life and is able to reflect on them to develop a feeling of discovery and relaxation.
Michael’s large artistic output includes Ceramics, whether he is making models, decorated vases or plates, his pieces display originality and creativity.
“A more interesting way”
Michael Barker told us: “I don’t want to be someone who changes art. My interests are to produce pictures that are painted in a more interesting way than those that we usually see.
“I am able to produce art works without models. I use my memory and my imagination to show subjects in a different way.
“As an artist, I enjoy paintings that are me … of me. I believe that, throughout all my subjects, whether modern or traditional, my work will satisfy and be appreciated by people of all tastes. In my work there is something for everyone to enjoy.
“I just look and leave the rest to my imagination.”
Michael is keen to find someone to promote his work, both his original works, his prints, greetings cards and other productions.
He is particularly interested in helping charities to raise money through reproducing his pictures in a variety of formats.
Enquiries about this can be made to the editor of this magazine.