On Christmas Day, when Bob Barker was 12, his mother gave him the best present he has ever had - an oil painting set, and he has been painting ever since that day. He was captivated by what could be achieved with some oil paint, a brush and a few pieces of hardboard - he used to paint on the reverse side because it looked like real canvas.
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Bob Barker paintings are driven by childhood memories seen through adult eyes. His mysterious artworks have moody, smoky backgrounds that contrast figures in vivid colours. Sometimes a lone figure of child occupies a bleak landscape and sometimes a group of figures are playing in the street. The figures are the focus of the paintings as they add an injection of colour into the works – especially his recent collection “Jumpers for Goalposts “.
Bob Barker is Yorkshire born and bred, and remembers waiting for his mother to finish work in the mill at the end of the day. He remembers the smell of the looms, talking to all the various workers including the winders and tuners, people in the spinning sheds and even his grandmother who was the ‘Cha’ lady at the mill. These influences can be seen within his nostalgic artworks, but the paintings also have a contemporary edge to them which can be seen by the aerials on top of roofs and incorporation of street art in “Doing a Banksy” .
Bob Barker also spent time in Cornwall where he met artists Keith English and Tom Gower. They inspired Bob to become a professional artist after spending time speaking to them and watching them work. Before becoming a professional artist Bob Barker ran a video and media business that his daughter-in-law has taken over to allow him to pursue his passion for painting.