Bob Barker

Born: Pudsey, West Yorkshire
Lives and works: Bradford
Exhibitions: Leeds City Museum (2017)
“The echoes of my past become my future paintings.”

Inspired by the Yorkshire mill towns that shaped his youth, Bob is known for his ‘Northern Impressionism’ style.

Inspiration

Since being gifted a set of oil paints as a 12-year-old boy, the artist has been captivated by what can be captured with a paintbrush. Where others see soot-blackened brick and polluted skies, Bob sees light and colour. Wielding a palette of blacks, greys and browns, he recreates his working-class roots through gritty depictions of work, love and play.

Drawing inspiration from the Old Masters, his work is a series of tableaus which immortalise the light and shadows that have captivated him for a lifetime. ​Often his signature motif of two hearts can be spotted, symbolising a feeling of togetherness. 

Bob says: “When I paint, it’s almost as if this northern light pours from my brush onto the canvas. It transforms everything it touches, from the cobbled streets to the terraced houses, mills and back alleyways.”

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Inside the world of Bob Barker

The idea for Bob's signature heart motif developed after he began doodling umbrellas and noticed a heart shape taking form. Following this, Bob asked his son and daughter-in-law to pose for him. While the concept started as an experiment, it now represents a feeling of togetherness.

Bob has recently begun to add a little more colour to each painting by building through layers of glazes. This classic technique produces subtle hints of colour while retaining the timeless ‘Bob Barker’ look and is influenced by the Old Masters of the Renaissance period. 

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