Student Profile: Martin Williams

How long have been at TBSSS? 

I think since 2007. I was around with Tom in his latter days at the Studio and indeed worked with the TBSSS Board subsequent to his passing. I was pleased to have a role assisting on the management committee in earlier days, but eventually resigned to focus on my artistic output.

Where do you travel from each week?

I live in Kirribilli encouraged in my artistic endeavour by my beautiful partner Jilly Gibson the Mayor, of North Sydney so I come often by ferry and then train from Circular Quay to Erskineville. I go to Bitton for a coffee and sometimes lunch.

What made you take up sculpting?

I postponed my art career by going into commerce, eventually running two advertising agencies, then on-selling them, gaining a doctorate at Macquarie University and switching into academia for 18 years. This gave me time to practise art, where way back I had previously enjoyed evening classes woodwork with Richard Crosland. Sculpture was another hand and mind activity, with arguably more scope for artistic experimentation (my girlfriend was an artist, and sculpture offered a less competitive option than painting!). I have been taught by many teachers/sculptors: Wendy, Christine, Michael, Karen, Monika, Ingrid Morley, Jenny Pollak, etc. More recently, Alnassar’s marble classes have been notable for me.

What inspires your sculpture practice?

The generosity of spirit that exists at Tom Bass and the efficiency of its working inspires me. As does the  network of teachers and sculptors and the camaraderie of the students, supplemented by years of spirited Thursday night classes, with in tandem, the arguably more spiritual classes on Saturday mornings with Michael and of course our excellent TBSSS library.

What do you do when you’re not sculpting?/Tell us about what you’re working on currently…

My work is more figurative.  As a retiree and very mature student it is a privilege to attend National Art School, doing a 3 year Bachelor in Fine Arts where I concentrate on painting and drawing, so at Tom Bass I will continue exploring the figure. Wilhelm Lehmbruck and Frank Dobson are my favourite sculptors though Rayner Hoff is not far off, while in parallel taking a ride on Morandi’s horses. I am also working on experimental Plasticine figures and I’d like to find more about Ron Mueck’s super realism processes.

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