Joe Baker (Delaware/Swedish/English) was born in Oklahoma in 1946. His art abilities were evident as early as junior high, when he was allowed to take art classes at the high school. He was awarded a BFA from the University of Tulsa before serving in the Air Force.
After his military service, he worked for the Oklahoma Arts Council for two years, then returned to UT, earning an MFA and teaching undergraduate classes. His teaching and administrative experience includes assignments at New Mexico State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Wyoming, Idyllwild Arts and ATLATL.
He was employed at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona between 1998 and 2008. Initially with the Department of Education, Baker was elevated to the position of Fine Art curator for the Heard in 2004. Baker’s relationship with the Heard Museum had its beginning with a solo exhibition in 1982. As an artist he is equally facile painting in a contemporary vein or creating traditional Delaware beadwork.
Baker has exhibited his work worldwide, including at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.; Gallery 10, Scottsdale, Arizona; Elaine Horwitch, Santa Fe; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana and in Mexico, Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Baker’s work has been featured in a wide array of publications as varied as Art in America, Interview, The New York Times, People Magazine and the Saturday Review. Joe Baker’s work is in many important public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, Chase Bank, United Airlines and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Baker's unique design sense has been embraced for fabric designs originating on the East Coast. One of Baker's beaded bandolier bags has recently been chosen for the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. An upcoming exhibition for Baker is planned for October 2021 at the Brooklyn Library in New York state.