Living on a boat and travelling the world for 20 years ceased for artist Foot Young when he sailed into Australia across the Pacific Ocean 35 years ago.
He now creates unique sculptures from engineered marble; sourced from Chillagoe in northern Queensland which is combined with other natural elements; the more expensive pieces combined with hot or cold cast bronze.
30 years ago Mr Young sailed into Hamilton island and met its previous owner the late Keith Williams, “he liked what I did and let me build a studio and its been over there since,” Mr Young said.
His journey as an artist begun when he became sick of working for somebody else and as a result had to dock in harbours as opposed to sailing the world.
“I watched natives use the simplest of tools to create woodcarvings, so I started carving wood but it was too messy living on a boat,” as a solution he started creating scrimshaw art, which later branched into creating gold and silver jewellery; “which leant itself to being on a boat.”
Mr Young said he used to trade his art for basic necessities such as food and tools when living on almost uninhabited islands with locals.
The Hamilton Island sculpture and Jewellery Gallery doubles as a relaxing sanctuary surrounded by peaceful gardens and has been Mr Young’s passion for 30 years.
Eight months ago he and art consultant Lisa Christofersen opened the Airlie Beach gallery and commissioned a ‘Heart Reef’ sculpture to mark the occasion.
Ms Christoferden’s daughter was the inspiration behind the kid’s sculptures and DIY kits the outcome of her expressed interest in wanting to join in on the art creation process, now the store sells upwards of 20 a day Mr Young even joked in saying that “they pretty much pay the wages.”
Foot’s artistic flare, love of the ocean and raw materials is prominent in his Airlie Beach shop which draws in the attention of passer-bys with some of the finishing of the art occurring at the front of the shop, offerring and overall experience.
The original Hamilton island studio “is much bigger, knocked up out of timber and is very rustic,” Mr Young said.
It took 25 years to develop and perfect the technique of creating cast marble, the process eventuates from a hand carved original solid marble sculpture which is then used as a cast for engineered marble art.
It has taken 25 years to perfect the process, but as a resulteach piece is unique in style and colour “it’s a long winded process to perfect, but not one piece can be exactly like the next because of this.”
Depending on size the casting process can take up to a week for bigger pieces and polishing up to a month, on top of the original sculpture’s carving.
To mark the centenary of federation in the Whitsundays in November 2001 Mr Young was commissioned along with two other local artists to create pieces sculpted from locally sourced materials, 17 years on his Dugong statue resides at Airlie Beach lagoon.
The project took half the time it usually would have as Mr Young was given an off-sider as part of the project which took only six weeks from start to finish, “it would have taken alot longer if I didn’t have any help.”
As to choosing a favourite piece Mr Young doesn’t pick favourites “they are all a piece of my life,” he said.
Source: Whitsunday Times.