Martyn Baker


At school I had the ridiculous ambition of becoming an artist when I grew up and threw myself into it with gusto. After school I initially studied on a graphic design course at a technical college in an attempt at being realistic but, after a spell of working as a paste up artist, went to art college graduating 1978. After college worked on community art projects during the recession of the early eighties. I exhibited in cafes and theatre foyers for a while. I have kept painting over the years always harbouring the ambition of exhibiting and selling but never getting round to it. A conflict of self doubt and arrogance, a fear of rejection.

Have always used watercolours, as well as oils. Presently mostly watercolours and colour pencils, which as well as being more practical have a more creative quality. There is something very honest and open in the immediacy of watercolours.

I have always painted from imagination and/or memory but have, in the past, worked a lot from observation.

Now I try and find an idea and, usually after a few sketches, begin a watercolour developing the idea further as I go along. The results are hit and miss. The misses are important and, later, other ideas often come from them.

I do not really know why I paint but do and have always done so. Perhaps it is the challenge and self exploration, or a distraction. Content is always a difficult issue.

Personally I think of art as being a conventional thing and, living in London, have spent a lot of time in public galleries.

I live in Bethnal Green and work part time as a teaching assistant in a Further Education college.