It's hard not to be absolutely awe struck by the artworks of Jake Baddeley. His jaw dropping paintings would not feel out of place hanging in the Louvre. Utilising a timeless classical painting method "inspired by the Dutch masters", Baddeley's art is reminiscent of the enlightenment era with scenes heavily loaded with philosophical symbolism.
However not all of the imagery within Baddeley's artwork stems from logic or reason, with a large part of his art being inspired by "his own subconscious and intuition which has proven many times to have a logic and curious independence of its own"...
"...My paintings are imbued with the ethereal glow of imagination, the very essence of truth. The landscapes I create are born from the depths of dreams, infused with the same luminosity. They evoke emotions, convey moods, and ignite ideas. They bask in the nostalgic light of distant memories, the enchanting radiance of childhood’s magical gardens..." - Jake Baddeley (Artist Statement)
The surreal meets the sublime in the work of Jake Baddeley, also drawing upon "the Ancient Greeks, the Italian Renaissance Masters, iconography, mythology, psychology...".
Since his first UK exhibition in 1996, Jake Baddeley has had his work exhibited internationally and featured in numerous publications, as well as his own collection of four books which can be purchased via: www.blueangelonline.com/jake-baddeley.
Read on below for our full interview with Jake Baddeley where we discuss his origins & more...
Where are you from and how has your environment sculpted your outlook on life ?
I grew up in the English countryside and spent my youth going to school, roaming the hills and drawing whenever I could. As far back as I can remember I have been holding a pencil, it was my thing since forever. So I cant really say when I started , I guess its always been there. I realised very young what I wanted to be, there has never been any doubt in my mind.
Most people get asked that dumb question what do you want to be when you grow up? I always knew the answer and it has never changed. Many of my friends have had to search for a purpose in life, it seems that I was given one. Not my choice really more like “here this is what you have to do”. This can be a curse as well as a blessing. I have never really had any other options. This is what I do well.
How long did it take you to develop your signature style ?
Style is a funny thing. It is really a form of laziness. We all tend to repeat ourselves when we find something works so we fall back upon known solutions. Style is kind of habit and habit destroys creativity. So I have done my best not to have a style except when I really need one that is to finish a whole series, which is not always easy. Over the years I have tried all sorts of ways of painting and tried to experiment with different formats and brush strokes. So some of my work is quite realistic some paintings are lyrical some are more abstract so I have a broad palette you could say, of styles to choose from but all end up with me in them.
What does spirituality mean to you?
I have never though of my self as spiritual in anyway or tried to incorporate it into my work it all just sort of happen on its own. You learn things in life develop and change and my work I suppose is a record of this journey. On hind sight it is a spiritual journey but I did not know that at the time. when people tell me they found this dimension in my work I am always surprised as I wonder how on earth did it get there? Most probably I will never be able to see my own work very clearly as I am always too close to it.
What are the key ideas and themes that inspire you the most and why ?
The what here is easy but the why less so. A quick look at my work will show you my obsessions and the recurring themes that appear, why there appear is hard to say and this is because of the process with which I work. I have found that the more I stand back from my own work, that is look the other way, take a distance, let it do its own thing, the better and more interesting the result. The role of the artist it seems to me has always had a connection to the shaman, the psychic or the mystic as they are ones who can reveal the inner states, the deeper realms of being. The images in my work are metaphors and appear in same way that images in dreams do. There is therefore an unconscious element in the process of the creation of my work that I allow to lead its own life and express its self. We call this the Muse.
Are there any artists / books that have had a strong impact on you ?
I grew up as an artist in museums where the real painters are. It seems that painting actually died about a hundred years ago but nobody came to the funeral. I say this because the traditions represented by these paintings are in the vast majority of cases lost and forgotten. The past, the connection with history, technique, the use of symbols, religion, the history of art is such a storehouse of treasures but sadly mostly ignored in our times, at least in mainstream artistic circles. I consider my self, in however a humble way, a link in this chain of craftsmen and I have studied their secrets in the backrooms of museums and in old german books that list their recipes.
What lights the flame of passion inside of you ?
Bliss! about which nothing can be said.
How was 2023 for you?
A very transformative year. I am amongst other things in the process of finishing my Tarot deck. A full deck with a book on the history of Tarot. Honestly if I knew it was going to be so much work I never would have begun but the universe wanted me to do apparently. This is not something you do lightly, it has changed me for the better as I have learnt so much from it, not just about Tarot but about life oddly enough. I have a renewed respect for this ancient path to wisdom. We are in the final phases of editing and hope to have it released in a year or so. I am so exited as I have discovered, i believe, the mystical origins of the Tarot and therefore the real meaning of the cards. As far as I can tell this has never been recognised before and I prove it in the book. My secret? The internet age and a desire to restore the tarot to its original pristine state.
How are you currently feeling about the next year ahead?
I have never been more optimistic, I can look ahead, not knowing whats coming, with so much more acceptance and peace than ever before. I guess this is what getting older does to you. Or maybe it was the Tarot :) So long as I can paint, make art and explore this amazing universe we live in, the future is fine by me.
You can discover more of Jake Baddeley's work via his website: www.jakebaddeley.com
- ASTRAL MAGAZINE