Martin Foot was born in Liverpool, England in 1958. Having left school at the age of 16, Foot began a 3-year apprenticeship with his uncle, who was a stonemason. Foot had been working with his uncle on weekends and during school holidays since he was 13 and knew this was what he wanted to do. Knowing this was what he wanted to do made the sacrifice of only earning £5 a week worth it, the need for a new pair of jeans would mean staying in over the weekend. Foot would spend hours studying books on masonry sculpture in the local library and, whilst he would learn the techniques required to carve architectural ornaments, such as leaves and flowers, during the day, he would voluntarily stay late to practice carving gargoyles.
Following the completion of his apprenticeship, Foot relocated to Sydney via a scheme run by the British Boys Movement. For the cost of £62, they were provided with a flight to Sydney and assistance to find a job and accommodation on arrival. Things did not go well in the beginning when Foot refused to take a job at KFC and was chased out of the office by the scheme rep, who thought Foot just wanted to lie on the beach drinking beer. To prove the rep wrong, Foot went on the train to the stop “Town Hall”, figuring it would the centre of town, and walked around until he saw scaffolding. By the end of the day he had found himself a job. Foot remained in Australia until 1996, the last 4 years of which he spent living in Sydney’s Little Italy.
Upon leaving Australia, Foot moved to Pietrasanta in Tuscany, Italy. As a sculptor, Pietrasanta is a mecca due to its locale which is just 17 kilometres from Carrara and it’s marble quarries. These are the same quarries where Michelangelo sourced the marble that inspired him. Foot considers the area his “spiritual home” and the town is packed with mason’s yards where the local craftsmen can be seen hacking, chiseling and smoothing the marble into shape and where the dust which hangs in the air comes from the marble as well.
Foot rents a studio in the town and has become the curator of thousands of plaster casts from other sculptors works. Foot’s career has seen him making a living out sculpting items that fewer and fewer people take the time to learn to create. He has created gargoyles for crumbling churches, Corinthian capitals, a life-size sculpture of Narcissus for an Italian notary’s country house, carvings on portcullises on Big Ben and half a dozen Adam-style fireplaces for an Indian businessman amongst many things. Whilst he prefers to sculpt his own creations, Foot does also complete commissioned works as well as restoring and replicating sculptures for museums and both private and public collections.
Foot’s works are available to buy from galleries in the US, Denmark and Hong Kong, as well as by direct commission.