A subtle contradiction between style and subject matter lies in the paintings of Australian artist Stephen Baker. Whilst the main theme of these works may in fact be solitude, or as he himself has put it, ‘‘a particular moment in time when one is alone’’, he however likes to convey his chosen theme using bold outlines and colours that are cheerful and comic-like. Originally trained as a graphic designer, Baker has worked with various commercial brands over the years, itself an experience that has certainly influenced his personal work: for one thing, he still likes to use Pantone reference books in order to compose his colour palettes, and more importantly, he has become a master of simplicity, able to bring a whole scene to life using as little lines and colours as possible.
Literally drawing inspiration from everyday life, Baker always carries his sketch book along with him on his daily travels across Melbourne, where he produces sketches of his surroundings. His paintings are the work of a keen, yet discreet observer of everyday life, since he likes to observe people in seedy bars, hotel lobbies, waiting rooms and other places which one would normally find banal and uninteresting. Maybe that’s why these works, in all their simplicity and abstraction, are so captivating: they manage to convey the essence of a mood, a place, a time, ultimately acting like ‘postcards of emotion’ from a stranger who wants to share his worldview with us.