ART MATTERS: A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN BAKER

” Reflection ” by John Baker

Artist John Baker steps out for Juneteenth with his solo show REFLECTIONS: “Art Of The Man: ” June 15  from  6-10p.m., at Main Street Gallery 515 Main Street in Downtown Buffalo. He took the time out of his busy schedule to do a little Q&A and gave us a window to what inspired this solo show:

Artist John Baker is a household name in the African American community of Buffalo  and who’s  effort continues to embed his legacy as a  known Buffalo artist as well as  seasoned curator with his newly formed  organization WNY Urban Arts Collective. Outside of the recent buzz of  being one of the four Freedom Wall artists last summer, John  had several group exhibitions within  the past year showcasing the many talented artists from Buffalo  and on June 15 John will be having a solo exhibition Reflections: “Art Of The Man” on June 15, Main Street Gallery from 6-10pm. Between Curating a new show, hanging his solo show and planning another art exhibit  he took the time to do a little Q&A to give us a window to what inspired his forthcoming solo show:

 

Q. How long have you been a painter

A. 25 + years

 

Q. Have you always lived and worked as an artist in Buffalo?

A.  Mostly Buffalo yes and also in New Jersey

 

Q. When was the last time you had a solo exhibition?

A. 6 years ago just before a major medical issue

 

Q. Known for abstract / futurism are you moving in a new direction?

A. I’m exploring my creative energy and the message in my work to speak to social and personal issues. I have sometimes been referred to as a storyteller. I believe a picture can deliver a message better than words while depicting history.

 

Q. What inspired the solo show?

A. I wanted to share my creative history with my family, friends, and community that have always been there supporting me. Past, present and future. There is a lot I have done that they don’t know so I want to introduce them to some of what I’m doing now.

 

Q. What’s the message related to the show and the timing/platform of presenting your work during Juneteenth ?

A. I have a long rich history with Juneteenth. From designing and printing their t’ shirts, to representing them in Washington, DC where my Negro League Baseball paintings were recommended for US postal stamps. I also curated an exhibit with them this year with WNY-Urban Arts Collective for Sankofa. I want to use my platform to bring attention to local artists such as myself. I would like to develop a better relationship between local visual artists and Juneteenth. Brother Ras Jomo and I have discussed creating an annual event around Juneteenth together.

 

Q. What would you consider the biggest challenge in the city of buffalo being an artist
A. Opportunity !!!!!!!!!

 

Q. Whats Next

A. Continue to create and develop my own work while working with other artists to share my experiences and create opportunities for them as a curator. To be best president of the WNY-Urban Arts Collective I can be. Developing and preserving the talented artist and their history of contributions to our community.

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REFLECTION ” Art of The Man”  is an exhibition of artwork by artist John Baker kicking off the JUNETEENTH weekend. This exhibit is collection of works that represent past and present images.

The main body of work will include 4 series.

#1-INSPIRATION (paintings of family and friends that attracted his creative spirit and compelled him to paint them).
#2-THEN & NOW (addressing social issues of today that mirror the same issues of yesterday)

#3-FREEDOM WALL (original artwork used as reference to paint figures on FREEDOM WALL).

#4-BYE GONE ERA (Negro League Baseball).

John Baker is a nationally recognized artist, curator, and educator from Buffalo. Baker is a natural storyteller and designs his images to elicit emotional responses and to inspire viewers to learn more about the subject matter at hand. As an artist, Baker has executed murals, participated in solo and group exhibitions locally and nationally, and has engaged diverse communities in a dedicated and lifelong effort to share the value of cultural production. In addition, Baker is a multitalented curator and educator. He has developed exhibitions with numerous institutions, and his curatorial practice is focused on providing unique visitor experiences, supporting dynamic outreach opportunities, and encouraging inquiry-based learning for all audiences. Baker is a long-celebrated activist for artists in Western New York, often providing young artists with their inaugural opportunities for workshops and exhibitions. His tireless support of other artists’ practices has led to his recent advancement as president of the newly formed Western New York Urban Arts Collective, a group assembled to provide mutual support for representation in the region, especially for underserved artists and artists of color. Keep up with WNY Urban Arts Collective    or   follow John FB