Born and brought up in North Yorkshire, Alan Baker was given the nickname Charming after gaining a reputation for politeness. After leaving school at 15 he spent time as a road digger, painting in his spare time, until he was accepted to study graphic design at Central St Martin’s in London at the age of 21. After graduation he spent time as a graphic designer for various companies, including the BBC and the Daily Telegraph. He saw this purely as a means of earning a livelihood while he indulged in his love of paintings in his spare time. After a meeting with Journalist Tim Fennell, the result of a compliment on a painting on a mutual friend’s wall, he was persuaded to hold an exhibition at the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, East London.