Lauren Baker - The Answer is Inside

Turning a hallway into an art gallery courtesy of some Lauren Baker neon sculptures

Or #NotanIKEAfan

For many people a trip to IKEA isn’t complete without a portion of reasonably priced Swedish meatballs.

For me it isn’t complete without screaming and wondering wtf happened to my life.

Lauren Baker - Expect Magic and Miracles
Lauren Baker created a series of scupltures that were dotted around Chelsea during the Kensington and Chelsea Art Week. Picture by Walt Finch
I recruited two photographers to create some artistic shots for my hallway. Picture by Wulfie Mayfield
Lauren Baker - Expect Magic and Miracles
How amazing do these pictures look on my hallway wall?

I have an IKEA bed, where the magic doesn’t happen #miniatureviolins, because it was a place that was delivering during lockdown and it was something I could make myself.

But it is a place where people think new homeowners should buy everything they own, so when they have guests they can respond to questions by saying “It’s IKEA”.

Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to learn I like to be a bit more unique with my interior choices – to the extent my home decor looks a bit like it has been thrown together by someone who is designing a trendy pub full of an eclectic mix of pieces (more on two of them to come in a future Fiskal Policy).

And anyone who knows me really well will know I’m a massive fan of the artist Lauren Baker.

The fandom started four or so years ago when I was at the opening of a show at Rise Gallery in Croydon.

Lauren Baker - The Answer is Inside
I used to think that only Smarties have the answer. Picture by Wulfie Mayfield
Lauren Baker - The Answer is Inside
All the photos have been printed on fancy pants metallic photo paper. Picture by Walt Finch
Lauren Baker - The Answer is Inside
The frames are some of the only IKEA things I have

On one wall there was a neon piece which – if I remember correctly – also had black and white images on it and it was simply amazing.

It was the first time I’d ever seen Lauren Baker’s work and I told the gallery owner I was considering spending all my redundancy money (from my days in local news) on it.

My main problem was that at the point I was living in a shared house in Bromley so there was no room to put any kind of artwork.

Fast forward four years and now living in the town where I first saw Baker’s art there is an IKEA.

Rejoice, rejoice – if you like that kind of thing because it was in the aforementioned blue and yellow warehouse of flat pack dreams that I bought eight pieces.

Lauren Baker - Do you want to change the world with me?
I have this picture as one of my images on Tinder – form an orderly queue ladies. Picture by Wulfie Mayfield
Lauren Baker - Do you want to change the world with me?
Over the course of two August evenings I posed for hundreds of photos. Picture by Walt Finch
Lauren Baker - Do you want to change the world with me?
The walls of my hall have been transformed by the artworks

Eight white frames to showcase eight pieces of art created by Lauren Baker.

No, I haven’t won the Euromillions but one night when I couldn’t sleep I read on the artist’s website that she had designed some neon sculptures for the Kensington and Chelsea Art Week.

Dotted all over Chelsea they were designed so people could interact with them, contemplate the meaning of them and spend some time just sitting.

Recruiting the services of a colleague I used to work with in the days of news and finding a photographer on Facebook after “sliding into his DMs” I came up with the idea of creating some art from Baker’s art.

Over the course of two evenings in August I posed for hundreds of pictures with the sculptures for an eventual series of eight photographs – four by each photographer, run as a series of diptychs in my hallway.

Lauren Baker - All your life you were waiting for this moment
I believe the message in this sculpture was inspired by a Beatles lyric. Picture by Wulfie Mayfield
Lauren Baker - All your life you were waiting for this moment
Lauren Baker designed the artworks so people could interact with them. Picture by Walt Finch
These photographs are the final 'dyptch' in the series
These photographs are the final ‘dyptch’ in the series

And – in the closest I’ll ever get to being a home interiors blogger – I’m absolutely delighted by the results.

Printed at Metro Imaging in East London the reflective nature of the arty metallic paper makes the contrast of the colours really (warning: home interiors blogger word coming up) “pop”.

Now instead of blank white walls, walking in my hallway to go to the toilet or to bed feels like I’m walking through an art gallery.

The message of one of the artworks is “All your life you were waiting for this moment” and it really feels like this is the case.

After years of waiting I now have my own Lauren Baker art, albeit with my own personal stamp on it.

Look how great the artworks look together
Look how great the artworks look together
IKEA Meatballs
Just in case I’ve made any IKEA fans hungry, here is a picture of the store’s famous meatballs (“IKEA Meatballs” by danielfoster437 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Croydon IKEA
If you live in south London you’ll recognise the Croydon IKEA towers (“HDR at Ikea, Croydon” by alexharries is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)

I also have enough IKEA pieces so when people visit they can say “Is that a Ribba frame?” and be happy they have recognised the items.

Maybe one day I will even sample the meatballs.

Stay safe for another week!