Lee Baker (b. 1969, London, England) studied fine art at Newcastle University, graduating in 1993.
His art practise is the distillation of a fascination with Japanese art and its ability to simultaneously influence and absorb western culture, whilst retaining its unique visual aesthetic. Japanese woodblock print, Art Nouveau, Manga, Textile Design, Graffiti, British Engraving and Pop Art have all found their way into his work.
On leaving university he went on to create a variety of site-specific installations in the North East and Scotland, notably a series of commissioned works at the Newcastle Museum of Science and Engineering. His interest in large-scale installations subsequently led to him further develop his skills working as a scenic artist at The National Theatre and English National Opera, as well as designing a solo show for lauded theatre director and playwright, Ken Campbell.
Lee has also forged a prolific career as a music creator for television, film and radio, writing for almost every major production company and channel as well as producing the top ten album, ‘Hey Ma’ for British band, James.
In 2010 Lee held an ambitious multi-discipline solo show, ‘Toku chan likes colour’ featuring silkscreen prints, paintings, murals, video, sculpture and an installation piece using 100 self-made Japanese kites inspired by The Tokyo Kite Museum. Held at TAP Gallery in Southend and funded through arts organisation, Metal Culture founded by artistic director of the Southbank, Jude Kelly OBE the exhibition introduced the world to his artistic alter ego, Toku chan,
In 2011 Lee again worked with Metal Culture, this time using a £35,000 grant to create a vast, entirely immersive installation piece, ‘Thames to Tama’ based on the true story of 16th century sailor, William Adams and his close relationship with Shogun Tokogawa Ieyasu. Over the course of the project Lee worked with over 4,600 Southend schoolchildren from 25 schools to help realise the project, and is currently talking with partners about a similar endeavour with 10,000 people on a global scale.
Struck by the aggressive force of urbanisation and industrialisation that relentlessly marks the Japanese landscape whilst visiting recently, his paintings have begun to depict the unstoppable power of nature set against seemingly indomitable cities and other human constructs.
Lee lives and works in Brighton, England.
Toku Chan Likes to Look Up – Metal Culture, Southend-on-sea
Introducing Toku Chan – Boxbird Gallery, Brighton
Selected Group Shows, Grants & Commissions
Grant from the UK Arts Council and Southend Education Trust for ‘Thames to Tama‘ installation working with 4664 students from 25 schools
AAF Spring 2011 – The Future Tense, London
Commission for Tim Booth album artwork
Future Tense group show – The Future Gallery, London
Life in 2050 – The Proud Gallery, London
AAF Spring 2010 – Boxbird Gallery, Brighton
Courvoisier group show curated by Ed Bartlett & Lucy Johnston – The Future Gallery, London
AAF Autumn 2008 – Boxbird Gallery, Brighton