What do you get when you cross a gay woman and a hot blow torch? New York sculptor Martha Walker!
It took Walker years to finally complete her calling (and take on sculpting full-time), but now that she’s done so, she’s never looking back. And it’s been full-speed ahead ever since. Her pieces have been featured on TV’s ‘Gossip Girl’ and are permanently displayed inside one of America’s premiere hotels, The Boca Beach Resort in Boca Raton, Florida..
Like many artists back in the 70’s, when Martha graduated from Pratt Institute with a Fine Arts degree, the call of an immediate paycheck pulled her away; landing her in the investment business for 15 years. In 1999, she decided to go back to Pratt for her Masters in Art Education. At the time, Martha had a young child at home and wanted to be more of a hands-on parent.
Both she and her partner of 29 years have two children. Martha gave birth to their son in 1984 and Jane gave birth to their daughter in 1993. “It wasn’t easy back then”, says Walker. “Finding a gay ‘Mommy and Me’ class, wasn’t the norm”. Martha and Jane are legally domestic partners and were the first gay couple to be married in their Brooklyn, NY Jewish synagogue.
As the kids grew, Walker couldn’t stop thinking about picking up the welder’s blow-torch again. Remembers Walker, “Making art was always in my head. Most people’s ideas dry up as they age. Mine kept coming like planes on a runway”. Walker is 56 years old.
It was 2001, when Walker got her own studio and took on sculpting full time. Not long afterwards, the TV show, ‘Gossip Girls’ requested two of her pieces for the program. T’kiyvah (which is now on consignment at the Elaine Baker Gallery in Boca Raton) and Hope, which is now housed at the Ann Frank Center in Manhattan. “When I told my daughter my art was going to be on Gossip Girls, I was the new hero”, Walker jokes lovingly.
Walker’s works have also been displayed in the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.
The Boca Beach Resort came calling too. Two of Walkers sculptures are featured in the hotel’s lobby. The seven-foot tall “Birth” and “Venus”. Walker graduated from Miami Beach High school and she is honored her pieces are so prominently displayed.
After a childhood, which took her all over America, and to a remote forest in Sweden, Walker is glad to find peace in sculpting. “It’s like meditation’, says the artist. “My Dad worked as a nuclear physicist through the height of the arms race (to which he was opposed), so finding calm in my life and work, is a blessing. I think my work reflects that peace”.
Sirius DJ Lisa G: Gay sculptor Martha Walker never saw a hot blow torch she didn't like
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