Tim Cotterill: Biography and Buying Guide

Tim Cotterill: Biography and Buying Guide

From the ancient lost wax method to the rich history of bronze sculpture and bespoke patination – we’ve already explored just what makes a Frogman bronze so special. Well today, it’s time to shine a light on the artist himself.

Whilst collectors all over the globe vie to own one of Tim Cotterill’s rare frogs and limited editions, few know about the backstory of this enigmatic artist. His early life in Leicester shaped the Californian artist we know today, providing the crucial inspiration for Tim Cotterill’s animal sculptures.

If you’re looking to invest in a Tim Cotterill piece, why not take time to discover the unique story of this fascinating artist and his truly unique animal creations?

Alongside an introduction to the artist, we’ve also got expert advice on Frogman authenticity and pricing – so you can purchase artwork you love with knowledge and confidence.

Tim Cotterill: A brief biography

Tim Cotterill was born in Leicester, UK in 1950. After leaving school at the age of fifteen, he embarked on a six year engineering apprenticeship. It was perhaps here that Tim Cotterill discovered his affinity for metalwork – beginning to experiment with various shapes and forms that would inform his later career.

After brief stints in landscape design and stone masonry, the artist began working in a “chop shop” during his early 20s. He spent his free time constructing radical vehicles and metal sculptures out of scrap metal. Bird and animal sculptures were particular favourites, honing his craft with additional materials sourced from junkyards around the city.

With artistic ambitions fully entrenched, Tim Cotterill started exhibiting his work during the 1970s and 80s. During a period of around ten years he created over 400 animal sculptures. Collectors soon took notice, with some early pieces selling at the world-renowned Sotheby’s auction house.

The artist moved to California in the 1990s where his life-sized one-off welded steel owls, eagles and parrots were an instant hit at street-art shows across America. He went on to rent a four car garage in Venice Beach, LA – and it was from this studio that the bronze frogs we know and love today were born.

From his LA Studio and later Ventura “Frogman Foundry” Tim Cotterill’s fame steadily grew. These days, his artworks are represented in galleries all over the world, with a community of Frogman collectors and new devotees eagerly awaiting new releases and rare finds.

Where did Tim Cotterill’s inspiration emerge? 

“We were curious about the strange way they felt; the odd way they moved and their simple contented look. I used to watch frogs at my pond, noting how each one had its own colour markings, character and even personality”. – Tim Cotterill

With such a prolific output, it’s worth asking exactly where Tim Cotterill’s inspiration came from. The artist has spoken at length about his childhood love of frogs, but the origin of much of his artwork emerges from an old Victorian house in the Knighton area of Leicester.

Whilst renovating the building, Tim Cotterill built a sheltered pond in the back garden. Soon, all manner of wildlife were attracted to the water. To unwind at the end of the day, the artist sat on the edge of the pond (beer in one hand, can of worms in the other), feeding the slowly emerging frogs.

“Their contented nature mirrored my happiness… I absorbed their movements and individual characteristics, observations that would prove invaluable to me later.” – Tim Cotterill

Strong memories of the form and movement of the frogs grew into a desire to replicate the animals in sculpture. Naming each frog individually (with humorous monikers such as Fast Eddy, Slippery Pete and Little Bill), Tim Cotterill was fascinated and inspired by their unique personalities and idiosyncratic bodies. He later cast a few frogs in bronze and displayed them at art shows.

What intrinsically appealed to the artist soon brought joy to art lovers all over the world… and the Frogman artist was born.

How can I tell if my Frogman bronze is authentic?

When buying any artwork, it’s important to deal with reputable galleries and traders to ensure authenticity. As the biggest selling bronze sculpture artist in the entire world, it’s perhaps no surprise that imitations have emerged.

So how can you be sure your Tim Cotterill is truly authentic?

Each Frogman bronze sculpture is individually finished before being signed and numbered by the artist as part of global limited editions. This marking is usually found on the underside of one of the feet, serving as a permanent and easily recognisable indication of originality.

As an approved stockist, The Artmarket Gallery issues a certificate of authenticity with every Tim Cotterill piece. What’s more, we’ll also record the sale and limited edition details of your sculpture – so you know there’s always proof of your original purchase.

How much does a Tim Cotterill sculpture cost?

Tim Cotterill’s bronze frogs vary massively in price. Depending on the size, complexity and rarity of the sculpture – no two pieces are alike, and neither is the cost.

You can purchase a Tim Cotterill sculpture for as little as £168 (such as the jewel-hued “Islanders”). This can rise to £3,000 or more for particularly rare or bespoke pieces. Among these, the larger than life “Ferguson” is one of our personal favourites! Discerning buyers can even commission personalised patinas for a truly exclusive artwork.

If you’re currently in the market for a Frogman bronze, we’ve put together our very own Artmarket Gallery Price Guide to help you understand Tim Cotterill’s collection. So whether you’ve just discovered these captivating creations or are seeking something truly unique – you can choose a sculpture that’s perfect for you.

The Artmarket Gallery are proud to stock an unrivalled collection of Tim Cotterill’s bronze sculptures. With opportunities to purchase bespoke commissions and extremely rare pieces – get in touch with one of our expert art consultants today and find the perfect addition to your home.
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