Name? Damon Baker (@damon_baker).
What’s your job? I wouldn’t say that I have a job, it feels more like a destiny, a reason for my existence. To create.
What did you study? I dropped out of high school at sixteen.
What is the meaning of life for you as a human being? I believe it is to experience and learn, then pass on your knowledge to others through your truth and your art.
Has it ever happened that someone was under the effect of some drugs during your photo shoot? If so, can you tell us about it? I myself have been under the influence of alcohol before on set, I believed that it would give me the confidence to create and help with my anxiety but I now realise that all it was doing was pushing me further away inside of myself and that creating alone relieves me of all of my anxiety.
Can you give us a list of 5 people you would like to photograph today? My followers, they are so dedicated and accepting towards myself and my art, I would love to create with them.
How the advent of the smartphones and socials media affected the job of professional photographers? I can only speak from personal experience and I don’t find that it has affected my creativity as I simply view any camera as a tool to solidify the inside of my mind and emotions. I think social media can be damaging for a young artist because it relates to an amount of likes so you can easily get trapped in recreating the same art for the validation. But that’s OKAY too, there is no right or wrong when it comes to creativity and art.
Can you tell us an anecdote behind a photo that you took? Hello. This is me. Help.
Have you ever been in Venice? I have, for the first time in 2021 I attended the Venice Film Festival with my Armani Beauty family, and in fact I will be attending again in 2022.
If so, what’s the thing you like the most? The energy and freedom I felt walking around, combined with the beautiful history.
Where does your rock and roll style come from? What are your favorite and most inspiring bands? I love the Pistols, i love Leonard Cohen, i love the eagles, i love Elvis, The Doors, Metallica, The Animals, Talking Heads, Siouxie, Portishead. I like music that has something to say. Political Poetry. I like the Pistols and Cohen because they are against politics and the system. I like Metallica because it makes me feel like I’m on fire. I like Elvis because he turns heartbreak into adrenaline. Portishead makes me float.
What makes a photographer better than another? I don’t believe that any ‘photographer’ is better than another, I don’t believe in competitive thinking. I believe anybody who is creating should be admired and proud of themselves, that is what is most important, to support one another to be creative and find themselves. Better than simply does not exist, unless from ones point of view, and art surely is for everybody.
What was your best shot in your opinion? I’m not sure I even can understand a best shot of what I’ve created because they all hold a deep memory and experience for me, depending on where I am in my life, that is how I process my journey. I can’t put a value on to that. All of my art is my best, because I created it from my truth and it is of value to me.
The most liked by people? Let’s ask them…
Do you think Hegel was right to put music as art at an higher level, or do you think the figurative arts, especially at an emotional level, are on the same level? I believe that all art is equal. And I hope every artist believes in that too.
Can you give us a definition of art? Freedom and truth.
If you could have a super power what would you choose? I’d like to help people as they have helped me. Art is my superpower. I chose it.
When, in your opinion, can you define a person as an artist? The moment they create for them.
Do you think that the relationship between art and drugs is just a cliché? Yes. I think we have experienced a narrative that to create you must be on a dark journey, I believed this myself, through addiction and recovery I came to understand just how false that narrative is and how it must be changed.
Can you tell us the most interesting anecdote with respect to your eventual experience with drugs? I thank you for the power I now have to say NO to you.
Can you tell us when you think a person is cool and when is not? When they are themselves and talk their truth.
If you could choose which historical era to live in, which would you choose? Right now.
Who are the people that inspired you the most? People inspire me in general. We are all so complex, it’s beautiful.
What is the thing you like the most about Italy? The energy.
Have you ever been in love? I have, twice, maybe three times.
Where do you live? Between Los Angeles and London.
Where are you from? I was born in the countryside of England.
The craziest experience you’ve ever had? Addiction.
Is the addiction you are struggling about alcohol? Yes, I’m an alcoholic and codependent.
When did you realize you had a problem with alcohol? How did you realize it? There was never a specific time that I realised I had a problem with alcohol, it was more something that had just became so natural for me to abuse and base a lot of my life around, during the pandemic is where I definitely noticed my consumption was becoming more by myself through escapism and to achieve some sense of self happiness. I knew from that point on that I had an unhealthy relationship with it and I didn’t want to be connected to it anymore, I didn’t want to escape or suppress my ability to feel. There was a moment I was in my bathtub in Los Angeles and I just burst out into hysterical crying on my own, I knew from that moment on that I had lost myself, I decided from that moment on that I was going to take myself back to the beginning, back home to England and find myself again, that is exactly what I did, then I checked myself into a rehab clinic and my journey of sobriety started. I realise now that a lot of my childhood trauma was what I was escaping and gaining success whilst I was young allowed me to escape and bury all of that trauma, which manifested into self sabotage in alcohol. I’m now finally on a path of accepting myself and moving through my traumas.
What is the most difficult thing about trying to get out of this addiction? I think, chasing that adrenaline is quite complicated for me. I am clearly an addictive character and it’s hard for me to find the balance in my life. It has also highlighted my codependency to myself and my abandonment issues. I’m currently working on trying to understand all of myself and these traits I currently have.
What advice do you feel like giving to those in the same situation as you? I’m not sure giving advice is really appropriate honestly, I think it’s such a personal journey. Be honest with yourself, with others, share, connect and know that nobody is alone and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
What do you think about in order to be able to stop drinking when you get a craving? Alcohol will never help me. It will never be my friend and it will never make me feel better. Everyday I feel better in myself is inspiration alone to keep fighting.
Does it bother you to see other people drinking? Not at all. I enjoy being around my friends when they drink. To be honest, it gets a little easier for me as I can relax in my environment and be part of people having fun and I get energy from that. It’s my journey and I would never expect anybody to change themselves to suit my needs.
Can you try to explain why you feel better without drinking? My anxiety for one has lessened immensely since I stopped drinking. My body, mind and soul feels more in tune. I can think before I act. Everything just feels a lot more human to me.
Do you think fame has fostered a lifestyle that has contributed to addiction? I don’t think any lifestyle has contributed, I think honestly only I have contributed from my own choices, I could be doing anything with my life and I most likely would have went down the same path. I’m thankful for my journey because I can now live how I’d like too and know I was strong enough to fight myself out of it. I would never blame that on any kind of lifestyle. I guess mine, just made it more fun at times.
If you could go back, being able to make an informed judgment now, would you still want to be famous? I don’t consider myself famous. Honestly, I capture my emotions and bring them to life through my art. That’s it. I’m very grateful people can connect with that and mostly I hope it inspires somebody to be creative and find themselves the same way. But other than that, I just see people as part of a creative community that I enjoy to be in and feel accepted in. My art maybe can be considered famous and to me that is the most beautiful gift because the pieces have been a role model to me, I hope they can be for others.
What life experience has most shaped who you are? I think losing my first agent who I was discovered by at age seventeen, who was a father figure to me, losing that connection sent me through a spiral I wasn’t aware that I was in until now, it highlighted all of my abandonment issues whilst at the same time giving me so much strength to listen and believe in myself.
What happened? I don’t really care so much to go into what happened because I’ve moved past that stage in my life and I don’t think it’s healthy to just hear my side of the story, but I felt like I trusted someone who I’m not sure always had my best interests at heart, however I could be totally wrong on that, the situations that happened is how I received the experience. I’d much rather just remember the things I learnt from the situation and the strength that I gained.
What makes it all worthwhile to you? The feeling I feel when I create and then being able to share my art and have at least one person feel something from it too makes everything worth while. Honestly. I think those are the moments where I can truly feel comfortable that I exist.
Where do you have the most impact within yourself? My mind and heart share an equal impact within myself. I love so quickly and so deeply, and my mind will do everything it can to destroy it.
What stands between you and where you want to go? My self doubt.
What are your core values? I’m kind, caring, honest and I like to believe that I’m quite funny.
Do you think in showbusiness there is a lack of these values, or do you find them often in that environment as well? That’s an interesting question because I’m sure there isn’t a lack of values within the industry but maybe it just isn’t so comfortable to be vulnerable openly or authentically, at least from my experience. I’ve definitely had very connecting experiences especially with my subjects and especially through creativity but when alcohol and drugs are introduced into a more party environment, I think it just suppresses all of that and all I find and have been part of myself, is ego. It’s a journey, artists are sufferers, I think it’s sad but also quite normal.
Are you enjoying yourself? In waves, I enjoy myself. I’m still finding the balance of spending all of my time with myself, but I believe this is a long life journey and it’s getting easier.
What’s one thing that can instantly make your day better? My wonderful little boy, who’s a dog, called Snickers. He makes me happy.
How do you enjoy spending your alone time? Work in progress. I enjoy reading, writing and fantasising creative moments inside my mind.
What are your favorite authors and books? Right now I’m reading Adult Children of Alcoholics and I relate to it very much. It’s interesting for me to understand that a lot of my thought processing and actions come from childhood and environment. It feels almost inevitable that I was to become an alcoholic.
Do you fit your art into two colours to control your life easier? I think this is a great question and one I’m questioning myself as I’ve naturally always been very connected to black and white, colour for me just feels distant, it could be due to control, that would fit my personality quite perfectly. I’ve also always thought it was because I feel like I feel and exist in a neutral tone and only when I’m in love do I connect with colour.
If you could choose a person to read this interview, who would it be? I think I’d have to say my younger self because maybe it would be easier to feel proud of myself and more appreciative of everything I seem to have achieved if I could see it from a perspective before I had experienced anything. I find it hard sometimes to truly understand and feel the pride in myself from all the hard work and passion I’ve put into my art and self, I’m not sure why. If you want me to pick a public figure, I’d say Sid Vicious, or anybody struggling with addiction and dark art, in order to hopefully help them see some of the light I’m now seeing.