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Featured Artist of The Week: Rufus Martin

Featured Artist of The Week: Rufus Martin!

"Always working with my hands, sculpture was a recent endeavour. The first sculptures I made were of figures and animals years ago. The first personally sensational sculpture I made was immediately after my mentor Michael Howells died. Created from photo reference, this work has been cast many times for Michael’s friends and family.

The springboard into wanting to pin down or surmise the passing beauty that was my friends and their family was a clear moment of introspection, simply put: “If I was hit by a car and was dying, what would I regret?”

The answer: “Not pursuing sculpture”.

Immediately after this, I made works of my loved ones as and before they die and now intend to create sculptures until I’m gone as well.

The foundation of my work is expressed through the approach of a contemporary and abstract premise. The metaphysical elements of an individuals persona are expressed through the mark under a classical umbrella; allowing the evocation of emotion by bold strokes embodying the sitters' internal landscape and the unifying factors of traditional work. Figuration is merely the conduit for abstract articulation.

My process consists of a blend of in depth conversation and immediate response through sculpting. The communication between artists and sitter is informing the next session of sculpting. The emotional reaction in clay giving rise to the individual's identity and sense of self. Not only this, but it also indicates their place in the wider communities in which they inhabit."

Selected artwork:

Artworks in order:

Gabriel Gilmour. 2021. Terracotta. 40x20x20cm. £5000 last of an edition of 3.

Gabriel trained with me at Wimbledon College of Art. Immediately truck by his presence I asked him to sit soon after his graduation. It was an intensely intimate experience, with the intensity of Gabriel affecting the work and my approach to creating it. A fast sculpture we completed it in about 4 hours over 2 days. In many ways, this work is an attempt to capture Gabriel's nuanced beauty.

Alexandra Blanchard. 2021. Terracotta. 28x28x28cm. NFS.

Poggy my wife, sat for me after a large change in the work and the sensation of creating it occurred. A fantastically intimate piece that captures an expression only her partner gets to see. It was created very fast from life over two evenings.

Catherine Falls. 2021. Terracotta. 38x28x28cm. NFS.

Catherine was a commission. From the get-go of working out the pose and style with Catherine, it was apparent that this was going to be a direct and intense sculpture. Working late into the night, the bust, worked in terracotta, was imbued as much as it could be with Catherine's gaze. Unlike other work I have created, I asked the sitter to look directly at me for nearly the entire process of making this sculpture. This method lead to a very deep period of introspection and reflection for both parties. I am always interested in beauty and the broad concepts around what makes up an individual; with this work, I grappled with imbuing the clay with not only Catherines beauty but also her intention and her manner. I very much see these things as combinational and tiny pieces that lead to the force that is an individuals existence.

Philly . 2021. Terracotta on Concrete. 42x30x28cm. Sold.

Philly was the build up to another work. An experiment of what was possible with an un-armatured clay form, this piece was an attempt to capture a rather baroque moment. The model, Philly Gatehouse suited the style of the work due to her own personal beauty but also her general domineer as an earthy organic woman.

William Rowe . 2020. Terracotta on Concrete. 42x30x28cm.£5000 last of an edition of 3.

William, a very dear friend of mine agreed to sit for me after a conversation we had during lockdown. I noticed a change in him and wanted to capture that moment of deceive movement. The pose is drawn from a past possibility of a career in ballet for Will. Made in an afternoon and a morning this work has been shortlisted for the Signature Art Award.

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