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Martha Martin
[artist bio]

Since I was a child, I have always loved creating. My father often tells the story of a drawer I kept any scrap pieces of paper I thought might be useful to draw on or make something out of. He recalls that I have been making art since I could pick up a crayon, and I have many fond memories of doing so. One of my earliest childhood memories is making a swing set sculpture out of twigs in my grandmother’s front yard. My family has always been supportive in my pursuit of art and I consider myself lucky to have always been encouraged by them and my friends to create. I grew up in Missouri and finished most of my college years there where I always focused on Fine Art - mostly colored pencil, sculpture, charcoal, photography and clay. Over the years I have been fortunate to study under very talented teachers and mentors who taught me techniques, pushed deadlines, took me studying art throughout Europe and even got me published in local newspapers and winning State awards at a very young age. In 1999 I moved to San Diego and discovered graphic and computer design while working in the art department of I then went on to build and direc
t my own multimedia department while finishing up my degree in Advertising at The Art Institute of CA - San Diego

For a number of years I primarily utilized my graphic and computer design skills

as an outlet for fulfilling my constant desire to create. But in late 2008,
while going through some heartbreak, I discovered a passion for painting.
As a form of therapy, I channeled all my feelings of despair and created pieces
I titled the Heartbreak series. I collaborated with longtime friend and local artist J. Feather,
and on Valentines Day 2009 produced my first real “art show.” The event had many
local and national sponsors and even raised money for the local non-profit organization
Classics 4 Kids. Reception of the show and my art lead to my work being published in

SD CityBeat, SD Reader, Pacific Magazine, and air time on the CW News
where I got to show and talk about my work and the meaning behind it. This exposure
also generated invitations leading me to be involved in over 25 shows so far, including
the Gaslamp Art Showcase where I won first place prize for my signature piece
“An Extraordinary Sunday” from my Heartbreak series.

With the Heartbreak series I explored the biochemical aspect of love. How certain chemicals are released in our brain when we fall in love, how we become addicted to them, and the withdraws we go thru while trying to break that chemical addiction. I painted these pieces as I was going through the emotions, and over the years I’ve really learned that I create things in the moment. What I mean by that is I take inspiration from what is literally right in front of me and paint it right away. In fact, I have found that if I don’t begin painting a piece within a few days of inception, it usually remains just an idea or sketch forever.
My inspiration comes from emotions, visuals, and experiences I am going thru at that time. These could be big things such as extreme heartbreak, falling in love or something as seemingly insignificant as a tree I saw while camping, the shape of a cloud, or one of my dog’s toys. Big or small, I love experiencing life and find great satisfaction in translating those experiences, thoughts, visuals and emotions onto some version of a canvas of my choosing. I rarely paint or create on traditional canvas and much more prefer tar paper, wood or some other unconventional material I find just laying around.

When creating something, I believe that the visual esthetics of a piece is at least as important as the meaning - if there is one. My opinion and the way I create my work takes into account the basic principles of design (color, scale, proportion, balance, rhythm) in the
highest regard even with the meaning being the primary inspiration behind creating the work. I feel that meaningful art with poor execution is more of a message or idea than good art. It always excites me to see work done with a strong message and good execution. That’s not to say that all the work I do has something behind it. I once did an entire show with all of my work intentionally created with only visual esthetics in mind and no real “meaning” as a revolt against the idea that art must carry a message. The public was not informed that the art had no meaning, and it was an amusing display of onlookers creating messages for the pieces. It was actually entertaining and enjoyable for me to listen to people interpret what they saw.

It is very satisfying for me as an artist to hear how my art makes people feel, or how people associate with it. Regarding my “An Extraordinary Sunday” piece, a girl approached me at a show because her mother made her dance as a child. She hated dance, and felt the girl in the piece was a depiction of how she felt about it. A different girl had cut my work out of a magazine, used it as art to make her boyfriend a ‘mixed tape’ CD cover, then later (by chance) ran into the piece at a show and told me the whole story. It’s experiences and memories like these that making showing art such a pleasure for me.

Currently I am finishing my Love series while also beginning to explore with oil paints and working on smaller scale pieces - verses the 3’X5’ average size of my pieces now. I donated my first oil painting “Slick” to a fundraiser to benefit wildlife affected by the recent oil spill. I really enjoy utilizing my talents to benefit or help promote things, groups, events that I believe in or am excited about. I have produced a couple custom pieces to help promote my favorite local band The Silent Comedy and enjoy helping non-profits like the OC Breast Cancer Fundraiser, Classics 4 Kids, We Love Creative, and others as well. Creating work for different groups and on different canvases challenges me as an artist to think outside of my normal subject matter and I am always enticed by the challenge of new mediums and canvases. I‘m just beginning to work with oil paints; it has been a fun and liberating medium so far, and currently less than two years into my “painting” career, I am excited to find out what the future holds for me as an artist and creator.

It’s not just one thing that keeps me motivated and inspired to continue making art, it’s a combination of life, love and awareness of my surroundings. I’ve shared with you some of those inspirations and experiences and now hopefully you have a little more understanding of  who I am as an artist and maybe where I’m going. Thanks for reading, and hope to see you at a show soon.

-Martha Martin