February 18, 2020

Sculpting a New Life

Photo courtesy of Martin Sturman

Martin Sturman, 86

Since retiring from his law practice of 39 years in 1998, Martin Sturman has had the opportunity to indulge in an artistic passion: sculpting.

Walking through an art gallery during a skiing trip in Colorado, Sturman was intrigued by the stainless steel sculptures he saw and decided to learn how to sculpt. Today, Sturman, who lives with his wife, Sara, in Westlake Village, maintains an art studio in Oxnard. 

Sturman was still practicing law when he came across the art gallery in Vail. “I had a client who had a metal fabrication shop,” he said. “They were kind enough to let me come over after work. They gave me scrap metal and torches and some instruction, and the night crew sort of adopted me and I learned how to sculpt in steel. When I felt I had learned enough, I opened up my own studio, Martin Sturman Steel Sculptures.” 

In 2010, the Capital Steel & Wire company named Sturman one of the “Top 10 Steel Sculptors of Our Time.” His sculptures have been profiled in multiple newspapers and magazines.

Aside from sculpting, Sturman also enjoys hiking three mornings a week with a group called the Heartbreak Hiking Fools at various trails around Los Angeles. 

In 2010, the Capital Steel & Wire company named Sturman one of the “Top 10 Steel Sculptors of Our Time.”

“I started hiking in the Westlake Village area with a wonderful group of people [from] all walks of life,” he said. “All religions [and backgrounds]; engineers, lawyers, doctors, everything. I’d never hiked before. I started hiking at age 65. I’m now 86 and still hiking. I am the oldest and the slowest.” 

Born to observant parents in Chicago, Sturman moved to Los Angeles in 1961.

“I grew up in a kosher household … primarily because my grandparents maintained [keeping] kosher,” Sturman said, but today he no longer considers himself religious. He does not, however, eat pork, and he attends High Holy Day services and fasts on Yom Kippur. 

Sturman and his wife also enjoy traveling and recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., and France. His favorite places to travel are Kauai in Hawaii and Paris, even though “I don’t speak French at all,” he joked. 

He added that he enjoys “being [in different places], seeing the history, museums [and] art.” He’s excited about his upcoming cruise to Alaska in August. 

Never one to slow down, Sturman also plays golf and takes ukulele lessons at a senior center in Thousand Oaks. “At the moment, I’m terrible,” he said. And even though he’s currently facing a major challenge as a cancer patient, Sturman is intent to live life to the fullest. “You have to go forward,” he said. “I don’t think of doing it any other way.” 

With three step-grandchildren, and a fourth on the way, Sturman’s advice to those younger than him is: “Don’t be too concerned about yourself. Be more open and empathetic to others.”

He added, “I don’t know what my next adventure will be, but I’m certainly open to it. I can’t complain, I’ve been and am very lucky. Life has been good.”