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Steven Townsend

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There’s much more to acclaimed fine artist and photographer, Steven Townsend’s portfolio than merely stunning animal and wildlife compositions. Not that there’s anything ‘mere’ about Townsend’s illustratively dramatic and graphically compelling back catalogue. Comprising everything from birds and dogs to cheetahs and tigers and anything animal-esque in between, Townsend can also readily turn his creative mind and hand to sea and landscapes in equal measure. What’s all the more impressive in Townsend’s case is that he’s a self-taught artist, having never attended a single organised art class, never mind a course of higher art educational learning.
Born and bred in the former mill town of Colne in Lancashire in 1955, Townsend still resides in the area with his wife and four children, and most surprising of all only turned to art at the grand old age of 27 years. And even then by accident rather than any design, having never showed the remotest of interest – or indeed, talent – for art during his formative years. Given the illustrative calibre of Townsend’s signature work, it’s almost unfathomable that he was hiding his creative light under a bushel all along. Not that he was aware that he possessed this latent gift of course. The story goes that during a period in his mid-to-late 20s where Townsend experienced the double whammy of both illness and redundancy, he one day felt the overriding urge to copy the likeness of a picture he just so happened to clap his eye on.
That picture was one of a Kingfisher bird, and to his utter amazement discovered an uncanny knack for doing just that. Manifesting a true, detail-perfect likeness for said Kingfisher. Not only did he render the subject matter in a creatively immaculate manner, yet he completed his self-set task with consummate ease to boot. Naturally this was quite shocking, to both Townsend and those closest to him who in time witnessed his artistic prowess for themselves, and over time he quickly sought to develop and evolve what he had started.
Over the following weeks and months Townsend tried his hand at countless additional subject matters, with each that pictorially transpired better than the one that preceded it. During this passage of time Townsend plugged away to master his new-found skill set, along with honing his technical ability. These self-taught attributes, alongside of grit and determination by Townsend himself eventually combined, as he ultimately went from being recognised purely as a locally admired wildlife painter to a now universally acknowledged fine artist; and considered amongst the country’s leading exponents of his genre. Townsend was also picked up on the radar of the industry’s influential bodies and organisations, and it wasn’t long before the trade in which he now successfully operated as a professional not only marked but honoured his talents; culminating in the Fine Art Trade Guild awarding him the much sought after accolade of ‘Artist of the Year’ in 1999.
Townsend’s now famous dog pictures continue to sell out on publication and have proved to be a sound investment. Like for instance any shrewd investors who happened to snap up one of his first limited edition prints, based on the already popular original piece entitled, ‘Early Start’. According to sources this example which cost animal art fans £120 at the time of launch would change hands for a sum calculated to around £3,000 in today’s market. At the same time, many of Townsend’s other dog pictures have also become collectors’ items, commanding values many times the face value.
It’s not just canines alone that are visually subjected to the Townsend treatment however, as he’s also a long-time admirer of big game, and in respect of this has crafted a sublime series of pictures focusing on tigers, cheetahs, lions, leopards and most recently a captivating study of a puma cub, Curiosity, in more recent history. What’s more, Townsend has created two further portraits of wolves and an arresting image of a Polar Bear with her cubs in snow, called ‘Warmth of Nature’. Townsend’s other great love is birds. The hyper realistic nature of his paintings has also made him one of the country’s most collectable painters of British Birds. Not satisfied with this he has added land and seascapes to his ever expanding portfolio. Suffice to say, the majority of Townsend’s limited edition prints sell out even before they’re officially launched, as his army of fans and seasoned collectors alike clamber for his latest offerings.
When he’s not busy at the easel, Townsend will often be found studying some of the great painter’s works, and is said to be a huge fan of Peder Monsted and Bruno Lilijors, as well as artists from the famous Newlyn School movement in Cornwall. Incidentally, Townsend has long held a strong Christian belief which he feels has stood him in good stead in his approach to his art in particular and life in general. What many clients of Townsend’s might be unaware of is that in each and every piece he’s created, thereabouts hidden within the picture are the initials, JTC. Or Jesus the Creator. As a unique mark of respect and thanks for his specific gift.