Cowboys, Gangsters, and Intellectual Humor: The Illustrative World of Glen Baxter

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Renowned for his unique brand of humor and idiosyncratic style, Glen Baxter, affectionately known as Colonel Baxter, has carved a niche for himself in the world of art. This English draftsman and artist, born on 4th March 1944 in Leeds, is celebrated for his absurdist illustrations and for creating an overarching effect often reminiscent of literary nonsense.

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Baxter’s artistic journey began at Leeds College of Art, where he trained from 1960 to 1965. His career later took him to the esteemed V&A, where he served as a teacher from 1967 to 1974. His unique style caught international attention, and his first solo exhibition was held at the Gotham Book Mart Gallery in New York.

Baxter’s captivating artwork has graced the pages of notable publications such as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and The Independent on Sunday. His pieces are a fascinating blend of the language and artistry of pulp fiction and adventure comics, interlaced with intellectual humor and references. His characteristic simple line-drawings often depict cowboys, gangsters, explorers, and schoolchildren making incongruous intellectual comments about art and philosophy. The Impending Gleam, published in 1981, is one of his most recognized satirical works.

Presently, Baxter resides and continues to create art in London. His relationship with Flowers Gallery has yielded a series of solo shows, with highlights including ‘Furtive Loomings’ (2017), ‘Tofu Walk With Me’ (2015), and ‘Glen Baxter: The Soul in Torment, Parts I & II’ (2012).

Beyond his art, Baxter has also taken a stand on significant societal issues. In August 2014, he joined 200 public figures in signing a letter to The Guardian, voicing the hope that Scotland would remain part of the United Kingdom in the upcoming September referendum.

His prolific career was celebrated in 2016 when the New York Review Books published ‘Almost Completely Baxter: New and Selected Blurtings,’ a compilation of his work, adding yet another feather to this remarkable artist’s cap.


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