Artist Darren Baker is set to raise thousands of pounds to help fund Britain’s next Olympians.
His striking collage depicting some of Team GB’s heroes from this summer’s the Rio Games will be auctioned at a celebratory Olympic Ball to be held on Wednesday (Nov 30) at Battersea Evolution in London.
The Meltham artist will be among VIP guests at the event which will be attended by many of the Team GB medal winners and will include singer Gary Barlow as the headline act. Strictly’s Claudia Winkelman and diver Tom Daley will co-host the celebrations which will look back to Rio and forward to the next two Olympics in China in 2018 and Tokyo in 2020.
Darren created the collage featuring medal winning competitors including athlete Mo Farrar, boxer Nicola Adams and cyclist Laura Trott.
The images, created using pastels, charcoal and pencil, was then mounted on a board taking the form of the outline of Brazil. The collage, measuring 75cms by 60cms, took about three months to create.
Darren said: “The British Olympic Association gave me free rein to do something. The hardest part was deciding who to include. I asked them to narrow it down for me and they sent me several photos for reference. I wanted to include men and women competitors and a cross-section of disciplines, not just track and field.”
His work is being auctioned off to raise funds to support Team GB prepare for the next two Olympic Games. Other items in the online auction, which is already live, include a Rio Olympic 2016 torch and VIP tickets to sporting events.
Darren added: “I know someone has already bid £11,000 for the collage. I’m hoping a few of the medal winners will sign it and help with the bidding on the night.”
Meanwhile Darren, who specialises in hyper-realistic portraits of film stars and sports personalities, continues to raise funds for mental health charities the Leanne Baker Trust and Support to Recovery (S2R), which has opened premises at Brook Street in Huddersfield.
Earlier this year, Darren went on a seven-day sponsored walk along the Great Wall of China to raise thousands of pounds for the trust which he and family members founded in memory of his sister Leanne, who tragically took her own life three years ago at the age of 35.
S2R provides a range of service for people with mental health issues by introducing them to a range of activities, including creative arts and outdoor pursuits.
The Brook Street base includes a gallery where Yorkshire-based artists can hire space to exhibit their work. The gallery takes 30% sales commission with the proceeds going to the charity.