Born in 1954 in Yorkshire, Bob Barker grew up without interest or love for art until his twelfth birthday when his mother gave him an oil painting set for a birthday present, what he describes as "one of the best presents
I have ever received." Starting there he has painted his whole life but it's only recently that Barker became a full time painter.
Not far from his school his mother worked as a weaver and his grandmother as a tea lady, which developed his love of tea and the busy old-world atmosphere around the mill. He then spent a little time in Cornwall where he met two artists of particular importance to his life, Keith English and Tom Gower. Through conversations and sessions of watching
them paint, he began to believe he could be a professional artist.
Life moved along swiftly and he became married, bought a house and had children, developing his painting skill as a hobby rather than a profession while he supported himself and his family on his own business
in video and media production, lasting over 20 years. Eventually his daughter-in-law succeeded him and took over the business,
releasing him to pursue his life-long passion in fine art.
Beginning in 2000, Barker began selling paintings to local galleries and over time his work was distributed nation-wide. His older brother, Colin, frequently pushed CDs featuring Barker's artwork on it onto multiple fine art publishers, growing interest in his work. Exhibiting in the 2005
Autumn Fair in Birmingham, he met Glyn Washington of Washington Green.
Barker's painting style is unique, mysterious, nostalgic. Like so many old films that you can't remember the name of, the mystique his paintings give off is a rarity matched only by the singular details such as the vividity of a crimson umbrella, the colour of the sky or the strength of the clothes on a pair of children, all in contrast to a stark, even bleak, background. However, it is this simple and distinct contrast of the underdog saturated subject versus the desaturated environment that
provokes strong feelings of nostalgia and select memories, creating a vast variety of powerful works.