Clive Barker was born in Luton, Bedfordshire. He studied at the local college of art and technology, and had his first solo exhibition in 1968 at Robert Fraser Gallery, London.
Barker left art school as it failed to meet his expectations, to work on the car production assembly line at Vauxhall Motors in Luton. In 1961 he moved to London and for a time acted as technical assistant to the artist, Richard Smith. From 1963 he began making sculptures. These were facsimiles of everyday objects, such as buckets or Coca Cola bottles cast in bronze and chrome-plated, employing techniques he was familiar with from Vauxhall Motors. These works and the two Zip prints in the British Council collection, printed at the Kelpra Studio in London, elevated the mundane to the almost heroic, and the humorous touches and the acceptance of the banal and the kitsch all contributed to the originality of Barker's work of the 1960s.
Clive Barker: Sculpture, Drawings and Prints, Sheffield City Art Galleries 1981, introduction by George Melly