L. Brent Kington was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1934. He received a BFA from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, in 1957 and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1961. Kington began his career primarily as a silversmith working with small-scale objects such as jewelry, silverware, and toys, and then became interested in using forged iron to create sculpture. He sought the help and instruction of the few blacksmiths he could find working in a "traditional" style and began working with large-scale sculptures forged in iron and steel, weathervanes, and other kinetic sculpture. Kington's subsequent research, such as his exploration of forge welding techniques of iron and his experimentation with laminated, non-ferrous alloys, constituted an important contribution to the resurgence of traditional blacksmithing and was highly influential in the fields of blacksmithing and metalsmithing in general.
Kington served as Director of the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale from 1981 to 1994. He was a lecturer at SIU from 1961 to 1962, assistant professor from 1962 to 1967, associate professor from 1967 to 1972, professor from 1972 to 1996, and is currently professor emeritus. A committed educator and an avid spokesman for the arts, he has been honored many times as a guest lecturer, visiting artist, exhibit juror, workshop demonstrator, and panelist in the United States and abroad. In 1987 he spent a summer in Cortona, Italy as guest professor in the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program.
Since 1962, Kington's sculpture and metalwork has been shown in more than 350 group and solo exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada, Mexico, and South America. Over the years Kington has served in various professional organizations. He has been a Trustee of the American Craft Council, Director of the Artist-Blacksmith Association of North America (ABANA), and President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG). In 1978 he was elected to the American Craft Council's Academy of Fellows and has been the recipient of two Artist Fellowship grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Kington continues to work from his home and studio in Makando, Illinois.