Stephen Rew, b. 1986, Kent, England (United Kingdom)
Stephen was raised on the beautiful Gower peninsula coast in South Wales, United Kingdom. He grew up surrounded by nature and wide-open spaces and his outdoor pursuits have fuelled his passions for both wildlife and the arts.
Stephen studied illustration at Swansea University, where his tutors guided him on the art of color, painting and storytelling. Like many others before him, Stephen has been seduced by the charms of African and Indian wildlife. Annual trips to Africa’s KwaZulu Natal and India’s Ranthambore National Park have been the foundation of his arts career; through the lens of his camera he studies wild animals, later sketching his findings using coffee and ink to bring animals’ spirits to life. These exploratory studies have undoubtedly become the groundwork for his three dimensional Damascus steel and bronze sculptures.
In 2010 Stephen undertook tuition from one of the UK’s leading Damascus steel forgers, a master blacksmith and swordsmith in London. During the course he conceived an idea for a collection of unique antelope horn sculptures, made by employing this ancient art of forging Damascus steel. By 2015 Stephen had successfully realized a most unique collection of African and Asian antelope sculptures portraying nature’s delicate perfection through the use of man-made steels and bronze. Hand-forged horns exhibit patterns as unique as fingerprints. These are mounted onto bronze partial skulls. In between working with Damascus steel and painting, Stephen developed his skill at sculpting and he has built up a diverse collection of wildlife sculptures, cast in bronze, with a beautiful array of carefully chosen patinas.
Stephen has been nominated for the prestigious David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s Artist of the Year for three consecutive years and in 2017 his Damascus steel/bronze Oryx was Highly Commended at the show. He bases himself with his photographer wife, two children and dog between Wales and the British Channel Islands. Stephen’s heart is in conservation and through his work he raises awareness and funds for endangered wildlife. He works closely with Wild Welfare, a charity whose goal is to improve the lives of wild animals in captivity around the world and Save the Rhino International.