While hoarding hundreds queue in Florence to see works of Renaissance masters, we’re in quiet Pietra Santa, meeting Martin Foot.
He is a master sculptor of “Michelangelo’s marble” in modern times, though I doubt he’d describe himself that way. With a distinctly mischievous look in his twinkling eyes, Martin Foot has the look of a happy man, doing what he loves.
“To be surrounded by beauty, as well as contributing to it; that’s what makes me feel happy.”
We follow him into the workshop, its floor soft with white marble dust. Dozens of sculpted forms line every shelf and wall, and hundreds more plaster casts are crammed into the attic.
“Some have been there more than 80 years,” he says.
Martin had formerly worked as a stone mason. It was noted Australian artist and teacher, Steve Gorton, and the 70’s vibe in Sydney’s Paddington, that sparked Martin’s flare.
“He changed my life,” Martin says of his teacher.
He has at least three marble sculptures on the go, and has recently shipped some finished commissions. Martin Foot is in demand. Like most artists, though, he prefers to do his own thing, rather than specific requests. It’s a balancing act.
“One has to pay the bills”, he laughs.
During our visit he shows us a special sculpture he has recently made for Steve, his teacher.
“It’s so heavy, I’m not sure how to get it to him,” Martin muses.
After two hours with this happy, inspired man we are left wanting more. We bundle up Martin’s gift and stow it in the suitcase, to make its way to Perth, then across to Sydney to Steve. Seemed a special thing to be able to do, to carry a gift of thanks from student to master, from one side of the world to the other. I make it sound like we went on foot! Well, we just about would, for a man like Martin Foot.