My Life, Art and Heritage.
Stephen Pratt – Artist My name is Stephen Christopher Pratt, I was born on the 18th of April, 1951 at Montagu Hospital, Mexborough. My father, Walter Pratt, was a coal miner at Denaby Main Colliery and my mother, Terese Pratt, when not doing her knitting or charity work for the Highfield´s over 60 club, was a seasonal farm labourer to help out with household expenses; she often helped by pea picking, potato picking, tulip harvesting, gathering wild oats, etc. I was educated at Balby Street Infants and Junior School in Denaby Main, before attending Conisbrough´s Northcliffe High School until leaving in the summer of 1966; I went straight into a job at the local coal mine at Cadeby Main Colliery.
My hobbies range from art, craft, photography and poetry; as small children my brothers and I would never cease to be fascinated by our mother´s sketches by pen or pencil. She would often grab a sheet of paper and sketch illustrations of us all, these were mainly portrait pictures and very good in skill. It was captivating to see our faces emerge on the paper by either left or right hand as our mother had the gift of being ambidextrous. She could even write with both hands at the same time and as an extra party trick, write in reverse – which was quite a novelty. My older brother, Ronald and younger brother Kevin and myself, followed in our mother´s love of art, craft and design. Ronald painted all the Hell´s Angels leather jackets, which were biker´s logos in the 60´s for his local Conisbrough gang – `The Scorpions´. Whereas Kevin and myself continued our self taught art in our spare time as a hobby.
At school, before leaving in 1966, I crafted a statue of a man looking through a telescope, with him was a dog by his side. This statue remained at the school in the north quadrangle for over 30 years. This I did not expect but I was elated to have been honoured in this way eventually I did manage to see it again before its removal some time later. Around this time, my brother´s art teacher, Mr. Charlton, put Kevin forward to achieve the Bowel Turner prize for his portative art; however, I did not go in that direction and became a little more adventurous trying out various styles and mediums, such as water colour, pastel, acrylic and oil paint. After creating various pieces, I exhibited my paintings all over the country and sold quite a few of them for pin money to buy materials to continue the cycle of my hobby.
It was after meeting up and viewing the works of Plymouth artist – Robert Lenkiewicz, Barnsley artist – Ashley Jackson and Sheffield artists – George Cunningham and Joe Scarborough that I became encouraged to carry on painting as a struggling artist for a while longer. I developed my own style that could be described as `naïve or primitive art´ similar to L.S Lowry´s child like paintings. I did try portraiture painting but my true love was really to paint landscapes; these were often paintings of the Yorkshire landscapes, the nostalgic views of the old streets and towns where I lived, the memorable events held, and fellow workmates whether at work or play. My paintings are varied mostly of life in Conisbrough, Denaby and Mexborough, but on rare occasions I have ventured out to include the likes of Doncaster, Sheffield and York.
I do not expect to get recognition for my artwork but the thought that I have graced someone´s walls in their home is appreciation enough for me. I created these works, hoping that they may be something to be admired long after I am gone. Please do take time out to view a few examples of my artwork with these images I leave with you. Thank you, most sincerely yours Stephen C. Pratt.