Stephen Raw was born in London in 1952 and went to Manchester, England in 1973 to study for a Master’s Degree at the Manchester Metropolitan University. He has been based in Manchester since, apart from two years lecturing at the National Arts School in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. On his return to Britain in 1983 he became a self-employed artist and designer.
Stephen’s work is varied, from painting through to commercial lettering for a variety of clients, including leading publishers, architects and design groups throughout Europe. He has also exhibited widely: the United States, Germany, Italy, Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom. A painting of his, words by Nelson Mandela, is in the renowned collection of the Stiftung Archiv der Akademie der Künste, Berlin. All his book jacket and cover artwork for Carcanet Press, part of their Archive, is now kept by the John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester.
Typography, cartography and all things calligraphic play a part in his varied application to what he describes as ‘a world full of letters’. Sometimes these are written by hand, at other times they are digitised on the computer. Irrespective of their method of creation they are ‘bespoke’.
Stephen also enjoys working on commissions from his Ancoats studio situated in the centre of Manchester. A recent commission was ‘Matsubara-en’, a painting in acrylic, commissioned by the Shokyu-kai Clinic Foundation for their new hospital in Iwate Province, Japan. In December 2000 he delivered the work along with an explanatory video. In 2003 Stephen’s London exhibition ‘Memory Language’ was opened by the poet laureate, Andrew Motion.
Stephen is a visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art, and was for fifteen years a part-time tutor for the MA course in Communication Design, Manchester Metropolitan University. He occasionally lectures there still.