Garry Barker (b. 1950) is a local artist. For many years he’s made drawings of the streets around where he lives in Chapeltown, Leeds. Into these spaces he inserts allegorical narratives about local matters and world affairs. He is interested in conversations and how these reveal the feeling tone of the times, and from these conversations he makes images that seek to visualise the underlying concerns revealed. Barker works in a variety of media (drawing, printmaking, tapestry, silk scarves, ceramics, graphics and animation). His interests revolve around political tensions between the local and the global in Leeds and beyond and how material thinking can help him resolve these tensions in his own mind. He believes that the purpose of art is to provide a space for contemplation by momentarily stabilising the flow of relationships between people, nature and objects.
Barker has a drawing and etching studio in Chapeltown that he sometimes turns into a gallery. The Workshop Press is both the name the gallery uses and is the title under which his occasional publishing ventures emerge.
Barker is also one of the founding members of the Leeds Creative Timebank, a collective that looks to support and strengthen the informal economy between creative professionals by facilitating the exchange of skills and knowledge by using time as a currency.