From the beginning I suppose I’ve always loved simply making things, and this was nurtured through my schooling in Liverpool and the teaching of a former silversmith Mr Hickman, who instilled in me a love of materials and craft process, and a vision to become a silversmith myself.
The opportunity of studying silversmithing at Sheffield was deferred after meeting the Liverpool sculptor Arthur Dooley, who of course was very disparaging of the art college system. I decided to move my school bed to his Bear Brand stocking factory studio and began what was to become my second informal apprenticeship.
Arthur exposed me to a world of ideas, politics and religion, and a revolutionary vision of art, that can transform the world, it was about crafting metaphors, ‘putting flesh on an idea’ as Arthur would say.
I remained with Arthur for four years, but during that time was encouraged to develop my own work, and when a London Gallery came looking to exhibit Arthur’s work, he dismissed them encouraging them instead to exhibit my own work. My first exhibition of small bronzes was at the Aberbach Gallery Savile Row London in 1982.
Newly married I established my own practice at the Bridewell studios in Liverpool, and began life as a professional artist. I seemed always drawn to creating artwork that connected to place or people, and fell into the emerging public art movement.
I was fortunate to win commissions, and also develop public art projects, including ‘Reconciliation’ a public art project connecting the Cities of Glasgow Liverpool and Belfast, which opened up my mind to new possibilities.
Over the years the studio grew, and many public realm commissions were completed, the
ʻRiver of Lifeʼ in Bridge street Warrington (1994), was another significant breakthrough in
my practice opening up the idea of place making, looking at the whole space rather than
simply dropping an object into a space.
The artists role in the public realm continues to develop, the artist interprets a communities
story, helping a community to remember, to celebrate, and an increasing focus on how a
community inhabits a space, recognising that the most beautiful and vibrant thing you can
fill a space with are the community itself.
The love of making endures, and I continue to develop small works and complete private
commissions, and maybe one day will manage pull together a new exhibition.
Stephen Broadbent was born in 1962 in Wroughton Wiltshire. He now lives and works near
Chester, married to Lorraine and now supported by three children Jedidiah Lucy and Isaac.