On March 22, Milk Studios in Hollywood hosted London based artist Charming Baker’s new exhibit “Lie Down I Think I Love You”. The VIP event was littered with who’s who of the celebrity sphere, with every wall covered with his beautifully destroyed work. The show included sculptures, drawings, work on canvas and wood panels. It was the largest show of his to date and carried a heavy punch. The show delivered a large attendance, as well as some surprisingly strong sales.
I caught up with Charming (a name he whole heartedly deserves) to ask him about his process, love, life and his latest show “Lie Down I Think I Love You”.
Warholian: This has been your largest show to date, how was the process creating all of the pieces?
Charming Baker: Really much the same as any show. With the sculptures I try to concentrate on making the pieces individually, solving any problems as they come up. I already work closely with a fantastic foundry on the south coast of England, for the installation piece I’ve worked closely with an brilliantly technical bunch of people based just outside London. As for the paintings, they’re produced the same way as all my paintings- long periods of time locked away by myself in the studio.
Warholian: You have mentioned the the theme of the show was the unpredictability of love. Could you elaborate on that more?
Charming Baker: Voltaire wrote for one of his characters in Candide – “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I am still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our more stupid melancholy propensities, for is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away”.
I think love has to be the biggest driving force for all of us, but like most people, I have never found it to be a straight road, the quote never fails to make me smile. Maybe I’m trying to put those feelings across with images.
Warholian: Not only is your artwork interesting, but the title of each piece is intriguing and more expressive than what you typically see. How do you come up with these titles and is it integral to how viewers interpret your art?
Charming Baker: I’m a worrier, I think too much about everything. In some cases the titles are my way of trying to sort out a multitude of conflicting ideas (much like the paintings). I write them down when I think of them, and can usually put them with an image, other times they’re are crafted from the meaning of the piece of work that they go with. I love the idea the titles can bend the interpretation of an image, I also like the idea that they could stand on their own.
The huge passenger plane installation in the show is so attention grabbing and the first time you have created a work of that scale, how did the idea to create it come about and what was the process like? Can we expect to see more large installations in future shows?
About five years ago I made a painting of an upside down passenger plane, called Try Not to Always Think the Worst. I don’t think that I’m alone in seeing these huge machines as things of great beauty and wonder, I’m sure I’m also not the only one who’s at least slightly terrified of being on one that gets into trouble. I’m trying to use the large plane sculpture; Love’s Revolution, as a metaphor for love and life, especially the idea of bringing new life into the world. Once we step on board we have to give up all control, deal with our fears and make the most of what we’re given. As for any more pieces of this scale, I have lots of ideas but it really depends on what size spaces I choose for the next shows whether I make another soon.
The three day only show has since come and gone and like Charming’s previous shows in London and New York, most of the major pieces sold out before Milk even opened the doors. His work has been acquired by major collectors such as Damien Hirst, Alberto Mugrabi, Frank Cohen and Harry Blain only further concreting his reputation as one of the most dynamic British artists of his generation.