Telfer Stokes was born in St Ives in 1940. The son of Margaret Mellis and Adrian Stokes he was brought up at the centre of the avant-garde modernist movement in West Cornwall. After graduating from the Slade School of Art he was awarded a Beckmann Fellowship to pursue his studies at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, New York, in 1962. When in New York he was introduced to Barnett Newman and was one of the first English artists of his generation to live and work in the city. On his return to England, Stokes taught at the Reading Art School and the Bath Academy, Corsham. He founded the imprint Weproductions in 1971 and published 20 visual narrative books exploring themes of reconnection and anti-commercialisation. Four of the publications were included in the Bookworks exhibition at MoMA, New York in 1977, alongside Gilbert & George, Bruce Nauman and Andy Warhol. Recently Stokes has been producing metal sculptures which explore the idea of reinvention and transformation. Group shows include Summer Show 3: Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism, Constructivism (1971) at the Serpentine Gallery, Eye on Europe: Prints, Books & Multiples/1960 to Now (2006) at MoMA, and Kettle’s Yard OPEN 2008. Stokes has had solo shows at the Grabowski Gallery (1965), Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (1989), North House Gallery (2010 & 2013) and Austin Desmond Fine Art (2015). In November 2018, the Redfern Gallery staged a retrospective, which juxtaposed recent metal sculptures with a number of large-scale abstract paintings completed during his stay in New York in 1963, which were shown for the first time.