Artist extraordinaire, Richard O. Baker, was born and raised in Harlem, a bustling neighborhood located in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Having grown up in the birthplace of the Harlem Renaissance; Baker is no stranger to the arts. He developed an early interest and attended the High School of Music and Art. He graduated in 1968, the same year the Studio Museum in Harlem opened. Baker presented his work to the curator and four of his paintings were selected for exhibition. Although he continued to draw and paint his art career took a detour when he decided to attend New York University and Rutgers School of Law. At the time Baker recalls- "I didn’t think I could make a living as an artist".
After a successful career in law he began to paint in earnest again and was invited to exhibit in “From Slave Ship to White House” in the autumn of 2011 and again in the winter of 2011 in a tribute to Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. building’s Art Gallery.
In February 2012 Baker started attending classes at the Art Student League of New York continuing to study life drawing and oil painting with Robert Cenedella. Recent exhibits at the Leagues Gallery and publication of his paintings in Cenedella’s Art Show Volumes 4 and 5 have rekindled the artist's determination to create a second career for himself as an artist.
"I have found inspiration from many artists. The color and form of Henri Matisse, the composition of Paul Cezanne, and I can add Toulouse Lautrec, El Greco and the early modernists of the twentieth century. I would be remiss not to add that music inspires my art, most notably Miles Davis, John Coltrane and the avant-garde artists of the 1960’s and 70’s as well as countless others. "
Recognized as the birthplace of a global arts movement; Harlem was and still remains a cradle for urban creativity. In the 1920's it housed the Harlem Renaissance and in 1968 it welcomed the establishment of The Studio Museum, a must see for art lovers across the nation. Presently the Harlem neighborhood is just as much a destination for the arts as it was in the days of yore. A cultural crown jewel of Manhattan Harlem is rich with new ideas that will travel far beyond the confines of the city to influence all of the world.