August '21

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1 4 G R A P H I C S P R O A U G U S T 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M Baker's concert-poster work acknowl- edges and builds on this tradition, and he explicitly cites both Wilson and MacLean as early influences. He says that he does not feel constrained by the familiar visual argot of concert posters or by poster art in general. "I see poster art as the quint- essential design challenge. All the funda- mental elements of graphic design in one rectangle." Similarly, with regard to screen printing, Baker is inspired by the physical param- eters of the process: "Paradoxically, I find the boundaries imposed by screen print- ing to be very liberating when it comes to making art. It gave me a paradigm in which to create." PERSONAL HISTORY Although Baker says that he is "tremen- dously lucky to have wandered into my calling," it is not surprising that he ended up in the applied visual arts. His grand- father was an illustrator at the prominent Chicago advertising firm Leo Bur- nett. His father became a creative director, also at Burnett, and his uncle was a successful storyboard artist. "I used to think a 'studio' was a room in everyone's house, like the den," he says. Fresh out of college and working as a graphic designer for a promo- tional electronics startup, Baker branched out in freelance design work for local musicians and pro- moters. He volunteered for his first gig, designing a poster for a show by former guitarist for The Black Crowes Marc Ford at the legendary Double Door in Wicker Park. Baker printed the posters on 11" X 17" paper at Kinko's. He wasn't paid for the job, but years later he was amused to glimpse his work still on display at the club before it ultimately closed in 2017. Targeting small clubs in Chicago's indie music scene, Baker established himself as a talented soloist, printing unique posters for some of his favorite bands. "I pounded pavement and made an effort to solicit art- ists I wanted to work for," he says. Baker has established himself as a talented soloist, printing unique post- ers for some of his favorite bands. (Image courtesy Michael Green)

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