Highly-acclaimed artist who inspired many, dies suddenly

Toni Martina SUS-170427-110009001
Toni Martina SUS-170427-110009001

Tributes have been paid to a well-loved artist who died suddenly last month.

Toni Martina was born in Kingsbury, London, to an Italian father and British mother.

His sudden death from heart failure last month, near Manchester, has shocked all who knew him.

He replaced London for Hastings almost two decades ago, but he never lost touch with his Italian heritage and London roots, building a general medley of stories and pictures of light, shadows, with each place he visited, and each person he met.

Toni studied art, and read politics, literature and philosophy at Wimbledon, Kingston, Central St Martins.

He was a highly-acclaimed artist, winning many prizes including the Prix de Rome Scholarship and publication accolades (‘What’s the Story original printmaking’ 2012, ‘Printmakers Secrets’ 2009, ‘Printmaking for Beginners’ 2005, ‘Monoprinting Printmakers Handbook’ 2003, ‘Citybites’ 1997).

His prints and pastels have been exhibited widely, nationally in galleries and museums around the UK, as well as the USA, Europe, Africa and India.

He went on to teach at British Museum, University of the Arts, Central St Martin, RISD Rhode Island School of Design, College of Fine Arts, Hyderabad India and Northampton University.

His colleagues and students talk of his modesty, of someone who always had time for others to share a story with humour and how to bring their passion to life on paper.

Toni loved his first school trip to Hastings in 1996, commemorating 950 years of the Battle of Hastings, walking from dormitories in the grounds of what’s now the Beacon over the West Hill, visiting the sights and sounds of the town that became his home later in life.

He is survived by his two children and wife, Alice, Dan and Tessa, who invite those who know him to give him a last look at the sea, celebrate his life, in words, music and refreshments at EHSAA (East Hastings Sea Angling Association), at The Stade, on May 12. Guests are asked to arrive at 2.30pm for a 2.45 start.

The family ask for no flowers and there is no dress code. Guests are welcome to bring an art postcard with a memory of Toni if they wish.

An exhibition to honour his work in Original Prints will be held from May 5 to June 3 at Bankside Gallery, Thames Riverside, London SE1 9JH. Visit www.re-printmakers.com for more details.

• Did you know Toni? Pay tribute to him by emailing hastings.observer@jpress.co.uk, or visiting the Hastings Observer Facebook page.

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