Artist Interview: John Baker

1.  What do you say when people ask you, 'What do you do?'

I say, "For money, or..?" I'm a private investigator working as an artist, or visa versa.

2.  How did you get involved with art?

My mom bought me a coloring book, Easter, 1968. After a tour in the US Army and a couple changes-of-major in college, I landed upon art as my final course of study.

3.  Where do you derive your inspiration from?

I derive my inspiration from my surroundings. Whether it be material, or topical.

4.   What's something that most people just don't understand about your field?

What people don't (want to) understand about my field is that it's not as exciting as television's version.

5.  What's something that continues to interest you about your work?

The thing that continues to interest me about being a working artist is the auspicious potential. Whether it be that people get the idea, or the humor, or, in the alternate, ponder on the ambiguity without disdain. That is interest, and success combined.

6.  What new idea or innovation is having the most significant impact on how people think about art?

A new idea or innovation having the most significant impact on how people think about art, to me, would be in a word, acceptance. There seems to be general acceptance by the public that what is being put out on view is a serious attempt. Smirks and guffaws have morphed into nods and brow-wrinkled chin-holders.

7.  What's an emerging trend that you think will shake up the art world?

An emerging trend that will shake the art world? Everybody's doing it.

 8. Please tell us about your training and how you transitioned to where you are today.

I graduated from UCF in 1996 with concentrations in Photography and Sculpture. Since then I have continued to weld, and create photographs using the age-old methods with liquid chemistry. I've taken post-grad classes as well as experimented with different processes. But doing the work does the most to perpetuate a transitioning, while retaining a core signature to my work.

9.     What artistic accomplishments are you most proud of?

The artistic accomplishment I'm most proud of to date would be the Best of the Best award received from the Orlando Museum of Art for the 2014 season of 1st Thursdays shows.

10.  What is your state of mind when you are creating?

My state of mind while I'm creating is to concentrate on where the piece wants to go. Most often I have a general direction, or message to convey, but the work itself guides me.

11.  Does your social and political climate impact your artistic expression?

The sociopolitical climate definitely has an impact on my work because it is part of my surroundings, but perhaps more in mood than message.

12.  Are you thinking about the viewer’s psychology of experiencing your art when you create?

 I think our jobs as artists is to evoke the viewers' emotion.

13.  What emotion would you say plays the biggest role in your art?

There is not one emotion I can pin to my work as a whole. It varies upon the day and the piece.

14.  Do you have any experience in the Orlando art scene? What have you seen or heard?

In the Orlando art scene I've met some people and participated in various (and few) shows thus far. I hope to get a handle on a more structured way of staying involved, with artists, calls and events.

15.   What advice would you give a young person considering a career as an artist?

My advice to a young artist would be to do the work. Create a portfolio/series or style, and document it. Create an inventory and submit to as many shows as possible. Market, Self-Market, and Market some more. Burn yourself with chemicals and flame, or learn the taste of leaded oils by color because you can't put down the brush. Forget about a social life until you've honed something that looks like what a cello sounds when Mstislav Rostropovich draws his bow across the strings.