JA: Do your paintings have autobiographical elements to the narrative? Is this a reason for reoccurring themes throughout your body of work?
MARTIN: Everything is autobiographical. We are living biographies. Artists are just outside the lines about it. There are reoccurring themes, images and subject matters that I return to. These repeating images are at this point still partially responsible for the pleasure, comfort and joy I find when making a new work. For example, say when I clean the house as a rule I listen to very loud Beethoven or Billy Joel. When I paint a women resting in nature I put a small snail or a bird near her, because these are the things that draw my attention and make a moment tender. These themes repeat themselves and tend to go on with a series, until I begin finding interest in a new notion.
JA: How much does your history and personality affect your painting? Conversely, how much does your painting affect you as a person?
MARTIN: My history and personality is very present in my work, all the things I love and learn the books I read the places I travel are found on paper, canvas and in sculpture. And because we usually find what we look for, I look and I find grace and beauty and joy in people and in nature and in the sky and the sea and trees and children and music and architecture and science and languages and big feet and noses and flowers and vines that climb and I find peace in color and harmony in composition.
How does painting affect me? Well, it’s fortunate that I am one who looks at the sunny side of life. Because I feel all the feelings all of the time. And when it’s a bunk day in the studio, I don’t think to remember the other good days, I think of moving to Maine, and growing heirloom lettuces. And conversely when work long and well, I go around hugging trees and singing in the market. Five is my lucky number but generally I am a one or a ten and I have never been a "maybe" person.
JA: There is often geometric and gestural configuration underlying how the figures relate in your compositions. What are your considerations when drawing and painting the figure?
MARTIN: Theres a million and one ways to skin a cat” and that applies to not only everything but especially to the many ways to translate the figure, from what I see, into line and color on paper or canvas. I love simplifying the hips into new shapes finding ways of celebrating the landscape of the human form again and again.
JA: How much of an idea do you need before you start painting? Or, or does it evolve in the process of working?
MARTIN: Each time is different. I usually staple up on a wall a piece of raw canvas and sit on a bucket in front of it for a minute. Then I start to see an image, kind of a faded figure, with shapes and colors emerge. Then i sometimes go, no no naw, lets try for something else. I usually always go back to the first idea. Then I start slinging the paint. Everything changes once the color goes on and the process of re looking re asking, repeats itself. I sit on a bucket and whistle "yoohoo where are youuu" until I see the image re -emerge, altered but fortified and smiling back at me.
JA: America to Me features both new and retrospective works. What similarities or differences do you notice between your recent and past works?
MARTIN: Im so thrilled to have been able to work with you these last 10 years JoAnne. My they have gone by fast. But my dear JoAnne, Tayler and Erin, your support and belief through this particular junction of great action and change, will always be very poignant and special to me. It is fun to see new and old work side by side. For myself, I do not have favorite works. My favorite piece in the groovy hum that I will be looking for during the process of painting or sculpting the piece I haven’t made yet. But when I look at my older work, I remember doing each piece as if it was yesterday. Although I no longer work in the same way that I did then. It is interesting to see the choices, the ways of controlling space, line and color the way I did then, next to what I do now. What a great way to start off the year. Yip Yip!