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Chuck Baird

Chuck Baird was born deaf in Kansas City and along with his three older sisters, went to the Kansas School for the Deaf. He received his art education from Mrs. Grace Bilger, a renowned watercolorist and graduated in 1967. He enrolled at Gallaudet University but then transferred to the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he received his BFA in Painting in 1974. Baird spent his first 5 summers after graduation at the National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) painting their sets.  During these years, he held a variety of jobs while working to develop his art.  He had his first major exhibition at the World Federation of the Deaf Conference in Washington DC in 1975.

Chuck served as Visual Arts Coordinator for the deaf art colony Spectrum - Focus on Deaf Artists.

He finally joined the National Theatre of the Deaf in 1980.  During the 10 years Chuck Baird spent with NTD as an actor and set designer, he designed and painted a large number of sets for them.  He is probably best remembered for his work in "King of Hearts," based on Phillippe de Broca's cult film classic.  In the role of the Painter, Chuck recreated the entire set each night in front of a live audience.

After an art residency at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, he moved to San Diego in 1992 to work for DawnSignPress as an in-house artist, and painted a number of new Deaf-related works, culminating in the book, "Chuck Baird, 35 Plates."  Baird went back to Kansas City in 1993 to establish a painting and sculpture studio.  He created a 150-foot long collage/mural of Deaf history and language for The Learning Center for Deaf Children in Framingham, MA, for the school's 25th anniversary celebration, in June of 1995.

Chuck Baird then worked part time at his alma mater, videotaping storytelling in ASL.  Videotapes of his work are now on sale across the country. 

Baird travels often to lead art workshops for Deaf children at schools, summer camps, and at art festivals.  In addition he still performs in Equity theatres with short runs of plays. 

Currently, Chuck lives in Phoenix, AZ, with Claudia and two pets, Zorro and George.

Chuck Baird's notecards and the book Chuck Baird: 35 Plates are available from DawnSignPress ( www.dawnsign.com).  The direct link is:  https://storefront3.mr.net/cgi-bin/webplus.exe?script=/NetPropulsio n/0026/34/webpshop/search.wml.

Artist's Statement

"Right now, I don't paint for the result, as I used to, but rather for the process.  I let it lead me to whatever it will be.  I often change the subject matter of a work throughout the process, and the end result depends on the medium, images that suddenly appear in the middle of the process, and so forth.

"The Deaf theme in my work relates to my own experience as a deaf human being;  my genre is De'Via.

"The artist whose technique I currently most admire is Wayne Thiebaud of Davis, CA.  I wish my painting was as rich as his.  I like to use his multicolored effect rainbow-spectrum effect the delineation of objects, and the portrayal of three-dimensional things.  My idol, however, is Michael C. McMuillen, a miniature artist who is also from California.  What I find similar in both our works is a sense of whimsy.

"I no longer paint what people would like to see.  I paint for myself.  It is about my own experience, my love of ASL and pride in our Deaf heritage.  I sometimes create works that have no particular relation to the Deaf."