Carrie Reichardt aka The Baroness was born in 1966. Her title, used ironically, has a connection with the last Tsar of Russia, who made her grandfather an honorary general for helping the allied forces in WW1.
After completing her foundation at Kingston Uni in 1988 she went on to study fine art at Leeds Metropolitan University. Much to the horror of her tutors she was awarded a First by the external examiners.
Her work at this time was informed and influenced by the themes of body modification, fetishism, scientific research and animal cloning. She was featured in Issue 5 of Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s ‘Words and Pictures’ – project along side bob& roberta smith. In 1998 she won the ‘Bizarre Bra’ award in the New Zealand Wearable Art Awards. Her infamous doubled headed latex pig bra in now on permanent display at the Wearable Art Museum in Nelson, New Zealand.
She also at this time appeared alongside artists such as Paula Rego, Nicky Coutts, Olly and Suzi and Mark Fairnington.
In 2000 the Baroness was to meet her soul mate and artistic collaborator the loving Mr Spunky. Together they decided to transform their home into a living work of art; hence The Treatment Rooms was formed. They are currently working on an ambitious, unique mission to cover the entire outside walls of their home in bespoke mosaics and ceramic artefacts. The Baroness has over the years become a leader in the area of subversive ceramics. As Kate Mikhail states in a recent write up in The Observer: “Is she a visionary muralist? A craftivist? An anarchic artist?. Reichardt is not one for labels...”. The truth is the Baroness believes the revolution will be ceramicised and she can surely be labelled as one of England’s true anarchist ceramicists. Her home in London, a building that occupies an important place in the hearts of its locals must be one of the country’s most complete and important display of mosaics on public view, and is featured in books on the world’s great murals and art pieces.
Around the time that the Treatment Rooms was started, the Baroness was to start on a life-changing path by corresponding with an inmate, Luis Ramirez, on death row in the USA. Now she corresponds with several death row inmates and political prisoners. In 2007 she went to Texas to witness the execution of another of her friends, John Joe ‘Ash’ Amador, and within an hour of his death she had assisted Nick Reynolds ( ‘Alabama 3’ harmonica player and son of great train robber Bruce Reynolds) in making a death mask of him. Having become personally involved with the horrors of the American penal system, her work was to shift from the human body to the human condition.
In 2007 the Baroness and Mr Spunky were awarded a commission from ‘Walk the Plank’ – acclaimed specialists in outdoor performance to mosaic a pick-up truck for the first ever UK art car parade. The Tiki Love Truck, dedicated to the memory of Ash, won first prize in the ‘Best Decorated’ category in the inaugural parade in Manchester, and has since participated in the Illuminated Parade in Blackpool and the highly successful Glowmobile Parade in Gateshead last New Years Eve.
She is also well known for her anarchic crockery, where vintage floral, kitshc, royal and papal crockery is picked up at car boot sales then given a new twist by re-firing them with layers of new ceramic decals. They are modified in a "radical use of traditional things", along with skulls, cheeky slogans and political statements.
Last year she was artist in residence at Camberwell Art College and in 2008 she took part in a 3 week ‘printing on clay symposium at the International Ceramics Studio in Hungry.
The Baroness’s art has featured in a diverse selection of publications, including Raw Vision, The Observer, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, Nude, Tile and Stone, Grout, Westside, The Londonist, Abort, Mozake and That’s Life. And last year she featured in several books including; ‘1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse,’ Garth Johnson, ‘Mural Art No 2’, Kirikos Iosifidis and ‘The Idler 42 - Smash the System’ – Tom Hodgkinson.
The Baroness considers herself to be a craftivist and passionately believe that art is the most powerful tool we have to bring about social unity and positive change.
She has just collaborated again with the artist Nick Reynolds on a mutated mosaic elephant for the London Elephant Parade, and will be working with him on a second one shortly for the Copenhagen Elephant parade.
She has just returned from Buenos Aires in Argentina, where she was working along 52 International artists invited to mosaic the front of the new Government building for art and culture.