Maritimo team turn their hand to sculpture

Sculpture artist Frederic Berjot, based on Queensland Gold Coast, has discovered a new visual expression thanks to the craftsmen at luxury boat builder Maritimo.

Holding a polished aluminium casting of a torso sculpture, he said, “I’ve never seen it in this light. The workmanship is amazing.”

The staff at Maritimo’s foundry, at Molendinar on the Gold Coast, usually spend their time casting propellers and other parts for Maritimo luxury boats and for the company’s offshore race boats.

Berjot, who is also the visual arts co-ordinator of the upcoming Gold Coast Arts Festival at Southport, was recently introduced to the team at Maritimo’s foundry in Molendinar on the Gold Coast.

“They are extraordinary craftsmen,” said Berjot enthusiastically.

Berjot, who has been selling fibreglass casts of the torso for 25 years, never believed he would be able to take his work to the heights of metal casting without the cost of having the work done overseas or interstate.

“Artists like to have control,” he explained. “If we have to send work away, we lose that control. But the craftsmen at Maritimo’s foundry are both the best quality and also happy to work with me.”

Berjot has also cast two “Artiste” sculptures at the Maritimo foundry that have been made especially for the Arts Festival. Standing about two metres high, they have been described by the Maritimo team as “wobblers” with bulbous torsos.

Berjot’s affiliation with the Maritimo foundry began with a commission to sculpt a memorial to Surfers Paradise beach legend Al Baldwin.

Baldwin, the “suntan man” sprayed suntan lotion on beach goers at Surfers Paradise for 30 years. He died of lymphatic cancer in 2004, age 74.

The solid bronze sculpture of Baldwin’s famous beach chair and cap was poured at the Maritimo foundry in the first steps of a year-long project that will see the finished work installed on the famous Surfers Paradise beachfront later this year.  

“I could not imagine anyone would cast that in solid bronze,” said Berjot. “It is a difficult task, but the people at the Maritimo foundry simply said ‘no problem’ and here it is. Perfect.”

Berjot said the deck chair had to be solid bronze to withstand the rigours of a sculpture in public space.

The two “Artiste” sculptures will be polished, then displayed at the Gold Coast Arts Festival at the Broadwater Parklands in Southport before heading to Sydney’s Sculpture By The Sea exhibition in early November.