Michael Barker is an artist of Tumutumu descent living on the slopes of the ancestral maunga 'Te Aroha' in the Hauraki district. Inspired by his surroundings, Barker's work is underpinned by the unshakeable philosophy 'nature is the teacher'. He specialises in using oil, pencil, pen and watercolour which has allowed an expression in a variety of textures, colour and size enabling
him to produce photo realistic effects as well as more subtle results to create landscapes, animal studies, portraits and calligraphy. Barker continues to be fascinated by the world of JRR Tolkien and fantasy and he continues to teach widely.
An award winning artist, Barker won the Doris McMiken Prize for watercolour for the painting 'Hope Rising' in 2016 and in October 2017 he was awarded the Supreme winner's prize for the same work at Watercolour New Zealand's annual exhibition.
In 2017-18 he exhibited at the Great War Exhibition in Wellington in collaboration with Peter Jackson's Wingnut group, as part of WWI commemorations.
In November/December 2020 Barker jointly exhibited at the Pataka Museum+Gallery, Porirua, with fellow Tolkien artist Daniel Reeve with the exhibition theme 'Myth and Legend'.