With Winterburn Fine Art, Steve Winterburn has turned his passion for creating timeless sculpture into a prestigious family-run affair
Steve Winterburn believes great art should be a passion, but that it should also be a challenge. Originally a painter of wildlife, he turned to sculpture as he found the form more demanding, forcing him to dig deeper, and yielding more powerful results as a consequence. Working alongside his wife and two children, he created Winterburn Fine Art to make finely detailed, beautifully finished sculptures in bronze and silver.
Steve’s work includes intricate Art Deco-style Chinese dragons, large reproductions of people and animals, and even abstract or surreal shapes. Clients include internationally acclaimed musicians, Premier League football clubs, wealthy individuals and major corporations. Examples of his pieces can be seen in venues as prestigious as Wembley Stadium in London and the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, while others can be purchased in galleries across the world or high-end shops such as Harrods. “We deliver bespoke work at the highest end of the market,” says Steve. “As a family we put our heart and soul into it – we live and breathe this business. Everything has our name on it. It’s our badge, our emblem.”
When Steve first switched from painting to sculpture, he would send his pieces to commercial foundries to be completed. But he wanted control over the timeline and every aspect of the sculpture-making process, so he built a foundry and learned how to operate it. He sketches designs dozens of times by hand before working with his son and daughter to make the moulds and create a perfect finish. Everything is done by hand and eye, resulting in work that contains the essence of human skill, imagination and soul – all of which, he believes, are essential for the creation of timeless art.
“Bronze is timeless – you can go back thousands of years and there’s this legacy of bronze in so many different cultures in every part of the world. It’s amazing to be part of that and to create something that could last for so many years – beautiful art with great craftsmanship, which, like a classic car, will maintain its prestige and have that balance I always seek in my art.”
As a sculptor, Steve constantly seeks new avenues of expression, because he “relishes the chance to try something new”. His influences come from nature and art, and he names Rembrandt Bugatti (younger brother of the esteemed automobile designer and manufacturer Ettore) as one of many artists he admires. This alludes to an era when everything from cars to skyscrapers was designed by artists, who would create objects and buildings to stand the test of time.
Steve admits that “nobody really needs art”, but sometimes it can be transformative – for the audience as much as for the artist. “You need instinctive-thinking people, people with heart and soul to really help it come together,” he says of his clients. “Sculpture is something that lives with you. It becomes part of your family and family’s legacy. People can interact with sculpture, it has a presence and energy when it is done well.”
The challenges of sculpture drive Steve forward, like the engineer who loves to solve a problem. “You have the mould-making, the casting – there are so many parts of the process and every single one is unique and will result in something different. We love these challenges; we are artists and alchemists. As Rodin said, ‘Sculpture is the true art’.”