Stephen Paterson is a Scottish sculptor and was born in 1967 in Dundee. After leaving school, he worked in lithographic processing for twelve years. During this period he revived a talent for sculpture he had shown from an early age and pursued informal studies under the tutelage of the Scottish sculptor Tony Morrow who introduced him to the expressive properties of clay. Paterson obsessively read art history and sculptural technique in his spare (and employer’s) time. He studied the works of late 19th and early 20th century figurative sculptors, particularly Rodin and Bourdelle, as well as Scottish portraitists such as William Lamb, James Pittendrigh MacGillivray and Benno Schottz.
In 1998 he left the printing industry and formed a successful commercial sculpture company – Shiel Arts, specializing in small scale ornamental work. Working in wax and cold-cast bronze, he produced a great variety of pieces from Scottish historical figures to sporting, zoological and literary subjects. Commissions were undertaken for a very diverse range of clients, from D.C. Thomsons to the New Course at St Andrews. He has also undertaken municipal commissioned work for Dundee City Council.
However, becoming increasingly dissatisfied with constraints of commercial sculpture, he returned to his love of portraiture in clay, relishing the expressive freedom of the medium but now armed with the representational techniques he had refined in his scaled ornamental work.
Commercial sculpture has also given Paterson a thorough familiarity with every stage of the process. He does all his own casting, finishing, patination and mounting, all of which he regards as important aspects of the expressive possibility of the medium. Although his non-commercial work is a relatively recent venture, it has already been received with acclaim and high commendation at a number of exhibitions including the Royal Scottish Academy and the Society of Scottish Artists. His portraits from life are based on intense observations and he endeavours to capture the personality and individual manner of each sitter and is fascinated by the endless possibilities presented by the human head in its infinite variety. Recent sitters include the Princeton physicist Lionel Goodman and Whitbread award-winning author Douglas Dunn. He is now accepting commissions for private sittings.
Paterson is currently working towards a one-man exhibition, a work of local hagiology, in which a series of obscure or forgotten saints is presented in a contemporary urban context. He lives in Dundee with his partner, and is the brother of the Scottish poet Don Paterson. He is also an accomplished musician and multi-instrumentalist.