Steven Wood’s sculptures, Guardians of Creativity stand guard in the Old Head Post Office courtyard. These symbolic gargoyles are seated on steel stands which echo the metalwork of the courtyard gates, mythical beasts guarding the gates of fantasy and imagination. They serve to remind us that everyone, regardless of their backgrounds, are welcomed and encouraged to explore their creative potential without fear or judgement.
Each sculpture’s individual bronze embellishments reference the site: a bronze sceptre topped with a crowned lion represents the origins of the Post Office, and its beginnings under Henry VIII.
A bronze medal on the second sculpture symbolises the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the origins of the university, with Sheffield students winning four exhibition gold medals.
The third embellishment is a bunch of wheat taken from Sheffield’s coat of arms, representing Sheffield and its community.
Wood’s practice explores a spiritual process of making. Often combining technology with traditional sculptural methods and materials, Wood’s work touches on themes of surrealism, memory, trauma, and the human condition. Wood’s immersion in materials and process is central to his practice. The work often stems from personal experience and emotion and the pieces test the balance between the traditional and the contemporary, inviting the viewer to make their own connections.
Wood completed a BA (Hons.) in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University in 2021, and finished his MFA in 2023. He was awarded the Janet Perry Award in 2021 and was named a ‘One to Watch’ by Sunnybank Mills in 2020 and 2021. One of Wood’s images was also published in The Times in 2021, and he has taken part in multiple group exhibitions. Since graduating, Wood has concentrated on becoming a full-time artist.