Born in Cheltenham of Welsh and Cornish descent, John Hoskin left school at fourteen and worked as a draughtsman in an architect’s office until his service in the Army from 1942–7. Returning to the drawing office for a short time, by 1950 Hoskin had started painting, later working on reliefs and constructions and by 1953 had began to concentrate on making sculpture.
After a period doing various casual labouring jobs to fund his painting and sculpture, Hoskin made associations with a range of other artists including Lynn Chadwick and Bernard Meadows, who he was evidently influenced by. Hoskin started experimenting with metals, producing spindly creatures and insect-like figures with rough textured mild steel reflecting both the jittery Cold War context of the 1950s, whilst also showing the inspiration Hoskin took from his ‘Geometry of Fear’ mentors.
Hoskin began teaching at Bath Academy, Corsham in 1957. His large figure of ‘Exalted Christ’ for St Stephen’s Church, Bristol, 1958 is perhaps one of his best known commissions and his first one-man exhibition took place at the Lord’s Gallery in 1957. His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions at the Tate, The Serpentine Gallery and other major galleries, and his work is held in collections including the Gulbenkian Foundation, The Victoria and Albert Musuem, the Tate Collection, the British Council, the Arts Council of Great Britain, Leeds Museums and Galleries, Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. In 1994 a major 40 year retrospective of Hoskin’s work was held at Storey Gallery, Lancaster.