Friday, December 18, 2009

OK Artists Inspiration & Challenges: Eric Baker

Eric Baker, whose sculptures combine metal and glass, said that his works are about the delights of life. Baker believes that people are met with plenty of angst and anger in their daily lives and that his work doesn’t need to fuel those fires. He told me that, “One of my close friends recently paid me what I consider to be a terrific compliment: he told me that my sculpture expressed to him a sense of 'joy'. Indeed, that is a major component of my work--that sense of wonderment, awe, and surprise that can occur no matter the place or circumstance, whether we're with friends or alone, surrounded by natural beauty or not.” Baker said his sculptures are based in a variety of themes like entomology, theology and geology, and that more specifically he is inspired by marine life and all things botanical.

As far as the inspiration from Oklahoma, Baker said that he finds Oklahoma’s geographical location to be pertinent to our state’s culture because we are influenced by both coasts, socially, financially, and culturally. Despite our central location, Baker believes that, “Oklahoma has a strong identity of its own. The land itself can vary from barren to beautiful, and I find that most Oklahomans are honest, rugged, hardworking people who are quick to help, and quick to share. I want my artwork to be the same-- simple, honest, enduring, but I hope it is also giving and insightful.” Baker, like the other artists mentioned, asserted that the biggest challenge of being an Oklahoma artist is the lack of a relationship between most Oklahomans and local artists. He stated that Oklahoma has a wealth of terrific artists, musicians, and creative people but that they are often unappreciated by the public. Baker, however, believes that this problem can and will be solved. He said, “It's up to a local artist to begin to educate his/her clients about their work, about its intent. As Oklahoma artists themselves begin to inform the public about their created works and as the public becomes engaged in the process of critiquing and discussing artwork, then the community grows.”

Well Oklahomans, it seems like this is a call to each of us to go out there and appreciate the art that Oklahoma has to offer. So go to an art gallery or local fundraiser, it’s good for our state, the artists, and hey, you might even have a little fun!

Part 5 of 5 By Katie Seefeldt, OVAC intern

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