A fascination with art: A VIP profile

 In Articles, Customer Corner, VIP Testimonials

Victor Baker PWG-4

In 2007, an Albrecht Dürer etching at a Park West Gallery event grabbed Victor Baker’s attention. Since then, his passion for art has continued to grow.

“I didn’t know the first thing about art,” he said. “I didn’t even know the basics.” So he was surprised when he found himself somewhat fixated on that etching. “For three days, I just kept going back to look at it.”

The artwork – a lifetime impression by Dürer – depicts a scene from Chapter 13 of the Book of Revelations. Victor said he was attracted to its historical significance and because it was the first book of the Bible he remembered reading as a child. “It kept drawing me back and drawing me back,” he said.

He finally made the decision to buy it. He tells the story below.

There’s no one particular style of art that Victor collects. He said he’s a fan of etchings and woodcuts because the technique involved continues to intrigue him.  However, he collects the works of many artists.

Victor Baker PWG-33

Shortly after retiring following 21 years in the military, Victor was shaken by a cancer diagnosis. After a challenging recovery, he’s much more drawn to color than he was before. He’s always been attracted to the colorful artwork of Yaacov Agam and very recently added to his collection some playful pieces by Autumn de Forest and Simon Bull.

Victor likes to share his love of collecting with his friends and encourages them to discover more about art. “Where I’m from, I wasn’t much exposed to art,” said the Gulf Port, La., native. “I really enjoy the masters, learning about Rembrandt and Dürer.” He said he appreciates the educational aspect of Park West events: hearing the history of where the great artists came from and about their lifestyles. He gave his growing appreciation for Picasso as an example. After being exposed to more about Picasso’s life and his story, Victor has an entirely different view and a deeper level of understanding of the artist’s work. He said that he hopes someday to add a Picasso to his collection.

Through his VIP experiences, Victor said he’s really learned from just about everyone involved – from the artists to the auctioneers and gallery staff. He also enjoys the discussion and camaraderie with fellow collectors.

Victor Baker PWG-7

Similar to his experience after learning about the masters, Victor said that meeting Park West artists has given him a uniquely personal connection with much of the art he’s collected. “Every artist has their own style and background – from Dominic Pangborn to Csaba Markus to Scott Jacobs,” he said. “They’re each fascinating in their own way.” He said it’s been refreshing to know that they’re “just regular people” who enjoy doing what they do. “And they do such a wonderful job doing it,” he said. He likes hearing about their careers and creative processes, and how each artist got to where he or she is now. In every case, he said his appreciation has grown for the work created by artists he’s met.

During his years of association with Park West, Victor said it’s all about “the Fs”: discovering his fascination with the art and artists, the gallery treating him like family and the bonus of building lasting friendships through his collecting experiences.

His recent art collecting has focused on notions of love. Although it wasn’t intentional at first, he decided to embrace the theme after coincidentally collecting a few pieces consecutively, each with titles that included the word “love.” It’s a fitting word to describe his affection for collecting fine art.

Victor Baker PWG-42

Victor now enjoys a quiet life and is settling into his new secluded hillside home in Southern California. He looks forward to starting renovations so he can once again display and enjoy his artwork.

Pictured above are two pieces by Tim Yanke that Victor has yet to hang. When we visited him, he had just recently moved and was still unpacking.


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Showing 42 comments
  • Tina

    What a wonderful article!

  • Tom & Judie Balaja

    Great article. We ran into Victor several years ago by accident only to discover our mutual interest in Park West he has become a good friend of ours.

  • Steve

    That was great!!! Very nice.

  • Cindy Ratcliff

    Very good article! I watched this young man grow up & am very proud of who he became.

  • Mara Sweets

    I was simply touched and brought to tears with this story. I have gone on this journey with Victor as his Real Estate agent and have watched him discover his love an passion for art. He has even taught me a few things about his collection. God has given Victor back his life and he is now discovering the many the many colors of art that he had overlooked in the past. So proud to be his friend and Real Estate agent. To be continued

  • Vicki Blanck

    What an awesome article! Very nicely done. You look great Victor!

  • Sinly

    Victor is a very dear friend of mine. It’s rare to meet someone as genuine and sincere as him. It’s also very interesting to see different faucets of his personality represented by the pieces he chooses. I hope his love of art continues to flourish and love seeing this article showcasing that.

  • Claudia from Frankfurt (Germany)

    I met Victor in the late 80 ties in Germany as he was a soldier. We are still in contact all over those years, but this is really an unknown and new side for me. Thanx for this great articlt …

  • DeAnna Welch

    Vic & I have been friends since childhood, & have always kept in touch through his deployments/moves.
    Each time he comes home for a visit to Mississippi, I love to hear of the new pieces he’s purchased.
    So fitting that after his battle with cancer, he’s chosen a path of color.
    He’s such an interesting person, & true blue friend.
    Wonderful article!

  • Emma Lopez

    Victor is a great guy, his love of art is amazing. His heart is and love for people is priceless. Should anyone befriend him; you’ve won the lottery.

  • Monica Davenport

    Great article! You seem to have found something great!!

  • John Hughes

    Victor has been a collector as long as Ive known him, and that dates back further then I would like to think. He had a Star Wars collection that would make a Wookie blush.

    This was a great article and its nice to see his passion continue.

  • Lorrie

    Great article! I have to say, I am not surprised that he has a love for art. The most impressive part of this article to me was, when he liked the painting that reminded him of a part of the Bible he had learned as a child.

  • Gara

    Excellent article! I love the passion you have found in art. This article is our hometown boy making the big leagues, proud to know you VB!

  • Karen Thrush

    That is completely awesome….and to think I was friends with you when you had dyed frosted hair and listened to violent femmes!!!!!! Love the article and miss you!! I can’t wait to see you again…you will forever be part of my family!!!!

  • Fred Brice

    Haven’t heard from Victor in quite some time but it was an honor having him as my leader. I learned about his growing art interest when I was working under him a few years ago. Wish I was able to see it then. Glad he’s doing well and living a quiet life.

  • Roxie Thomas

    Very much enjoyed this article. Would like to some day talk art with you. Glad you shared with me. You are looking great sir.

  • Shawn Hunter

    Fascinating and remarkable collection. I was privileged to serve with Victor with out a doubt the most knowledgable and positive leaders I’ve know. He has inspired me to continue in a collection of my own. Although my collection is small.
    There’s a bigger Picture out there waiting for me.

  • abcBreck

    This is such a great story of the discovery and appreciation of all that is truly beautiful. So often, it takes a devastating or life-changing experience for one to awaken and realize what gifts are right before our eyes. I’m so happy, Victor, that you have embraced your new love and appreciation for art and are sharing it for all to see.

  • laura busby

    wow victor that’s awesome not much on art but from what i have seen i love it….

  • Morris Shapiro

    It’s been a pleasure to assist Victor in the building of his extraordinary collection. He’s a thoughtful, sensitive person, and one who’s always open to learning more and broadening his knowledge. We’re fortunate to have him as a client and friend.
    Morris Shapiro, Park West Gallery Director

  • Victor Baker

    Thank you all for the Wonderful comments, and a BIG Thanks to Pitch Black Media for doing a Great job on this.

    If it weren’t for Cancer, I’d say I have the perfect life.
    If it weren’t for Cancer, would I even realize this?
    Just Saying. . .

  • Kris with a K

    I enjoyed this article very much. Victor is such an interesting person and this is reflected in his love of various kinds of art. He has inspired me with his passion of art and the stories behind his personal collection. I am thrilled that he has added color to his collection and what that symbolizes. Thank you, Victor, for your service to our country!

  • john caviezel

    Great article , you turn lemons into lemonade it is a true gift that you share , thanks for your positive energy you show everyday.

  • Laura Biedenkapp

    Wonderful article Victor. The video clip of the artwork was very helpful as you have just recently shared your love of art with me in the short time we have known each other. It was helpful to hear about the artist and their works. Love the dragonflies and the lovers. Thank you for being my friend in music and sharing your art with us. I’m going to write down your quote about cancer to help me through those tough days we sometimes have. Thank You!

  • Clive Houston-Brown

    Victor, so great to hear from you – I praise God for how well you are doing! May you continue to get pleasure from art and live a long and fulfilling life. Stay strong – Clive

  • Jennifer

    Great article! Your fascination with beautiful pieces of art is contagious! I enjoy mine everyday!

  • Tracy Ice

    WOW Victor, this is so awesome, loved the video! I sure miss having you as a roommate, we were so kitchen & bathroom compatible not to mention I love talking to you about your collections and everything else we chatted about.

  • Ordnance Soldier

    Thank you for sharing this nice article, I’m glad to see Retired MSG Baker is doing so well. I met him about 10 years ago when I was a student in the Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course at Aberdeen Proving Ground Maryland. An AMAZING Leader, one of the best I ever came across. I’ve never forgot the quote ‘Motto’ that he used while instructing & sharing “Lessons Learned” from OEF/OIF ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ & ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’.
    “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”. I later found that was Proverbs 27:17.
    Thank you for everything, and Godspeed on all your future endeavors with art and everything else that you do.

  • Reta M

    Victor WoW! This is a great Article for another gifted Artist you. Thank you for sharing your journey as you continue embracing your positive light of your special gift. I love how you’ve started developing your passion for art and the paths into each selection. My viewing of your Art added enjoyment with the sounds of music of Jacqueline du Pré; by alerting the senses like red wine and chocolate for those with this appreciate. My dear friend carry on sharing with the world you are a true Artist of our time

  • Daniel Aquilar

    Victor! What a wonderful article and video of a small picture of the life you have etched into this world. Your a testimony that a proven soldier is more than they can be off the battle field. I am so thankful to have met you and pray that God will color your life for many years to come. God Bless!

  • Cora Farris

    Victor, I loved the article, you are an amazing guy and i am lucky to know you.I too love art and music i think they both make the world a beautiful place!!

  • Felicia D

    Intriguing article. May all your “Picasso” dreams find you!

  • Christine

    Amazing article. Victor has an eye for art like no other!

  • John B.

    I met Victor,buying Star Wars collectables. Hwhowed me his art. I was fascinated. He is a wonderful person. Makes me want to get more into art myself. To get to know him is truly a great life event.

  • Amber

    Amazing article! A legacy that no other could leave for those who know and love Victor. The art is as timeless and as beautiful as the man who is collecting it. I hope that soon I will get to see these works of art for myself. From one art lover to another, BRAVO my friend, BRAVO!

  • Jason Stewart

    Wow! It is nice to see another side of such a wonderful man! Be true to yourself and all is right with the world.

  • Deborah

    Always knew you were special. Your love of the arts proves it. Great article Vic.

  • Betty

    I recently had the pleasure of meeting Victor. Yes, he is an amazing guy; his passion for art and the works he’s collected gave me the incentive to go to the library and learn about what I’ve been missing for many years.
    Victor is a true soldier and in my prayers. He is a friend you can treasure.

  • Kelley Johnson

    I’m so glad that your life has turned for the better. It makes me happy to know that art brightens your day, life is beautiful (:

  • Joseph Smith

    Having just met Victor in October on one of his collecting trips, I was taken with the story of his life to date. My friend, I look forward to seeing you again soon. It also seems you have a second collection now. Art and a wonderful following of people whom you have touched with sharing your life and passion for collecting art. I am looking forward to visiting you and seeing your collection soon.

  • Walter Paul Bebirian

    it’s nice to know that people who collect art are just regular people –

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