a bit grateful
a bit humble
a bit proud
Whatchyouwant my picture for?
By minimizing the background, Baker’s recent work reminds me of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures, the figures trapped in the stone. His main figure is amazing in this. Please click on the image to enlarge. The stark realism of the figure with the background so finely sketched gives the figure of Henry the effect of singular notice. It’s almost like the background is the stone and the figure is trapped in the paper. This gives Henry a singular notice also. The drawing is of Henry and who he is and who he represents to the viewer; character, perseverance, singularity, uniqueness. It is Henry, and Henry alone who was important in that room!
Art by Kyle Baker Poem and comment by David Michael Jackson
Kyle Baker is a “two dimensional artist out of Nashville, Tennessee. His charcoal drawings of people seem to capture an intimate look at the individual.
Charcoal drawing has an intimacy that started with cave drawings. Charcoal and stone were the expressions of man’s earliest age and every artist marvels at the cave drawings. Charcoal paintings date as far back as ca.23,000 BCE. Cultures utilized charcoal for art, camouflage, and in rites of passage. Art is made with the crudest of implements and charcoal drawings, as detailed as they are, are no different.
Caravaggio: His paintings combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting.….. Wiki
All artists go for perfect form, shape, shade and color. They differ in the expression, the motif, in what they draw or paint. Some artists paint every day objects, fruit, landscapes or nature and, in those motifs try for some intangible something called beauty. Kyle Baker finds beauty in the homeless man, the guy on a skateboard, the wise old man on the street, the gutsy, the raw, the real. His drawings are visceral. We turn away from the homeless man. Kyle seems to find beauty in the “similarities and differences.”
His people have a dignity about them. His drawings are often life size. Kyle starts at the top of the page and the drawing is revealed downward. His hand is always resting on clean paper as he works down the page completing the forms as he goes.
I know Big Steve, or it seems I do, Kyle Baker’s drawings of people in charcoal and graphite all seem like people I know, or have seen lately, on the street, in life. There is a universality to these drawings which, “combine a realistic observation of the human state.” Thank you Caravaggio. He didn’t say it, of course. Other people write the words because the artist thinks in “dramatic use of lighting”, like Caravaggio. Our art is formed by our heroes. The artists study and emulate, then reach their own conclusions.
Here is an interview with Kyle Baker
What is the motivation for these drawings? The motivations behind these drawings lies in the search to apprehend the subject. Such drawing takes a lot of time. Why do you select the people you did? I select the people I do because of the similarities I have with them which is then paralleled by the stark differences I have with them. What are your goals as an artist. As an artist, I hope to be able to work as a full time artist sometime in the near future. Who are you artist heroes. Why? I love the classical. I really like the contrast Caravaggio used in his pieces and I also thoroughly enjoy Van Gogh due to his story. Since you draw so well, what do you think of “modern art”, abstract art? I like modern and abstract art. I also think there is a sense of abstract in all art, including classical work. What is the purpose of art. The purpose of art is a hard question. I do not know . . . only the artist knows the exact purpose of their own art. Does art have a social purpose? Does an artist have a duty? Art can have a social purpose and a duty, but that lies in the hands of the artist. When did you start to draw; was there a beginning event, artist or piece that knocked you down and started the journey? I started drawing in high school. Barry Mcgee was one that I always liked. When I went to New York I remember being really in awe of a Chuck Close painting I experienced. Where do you hope to be in 10 years. In ten years, I hope to be happily married, live in a small house with a studio room, make art full time, and have enough money to travel where I want to go.
Kyle Baker’ s art is off to a good start. His first show of these drawings was at Hanna Lane Gallery