“Stepping back from my finished canvases is like looking into a magnified mirror. Fragments of my identity emerge to create a visual narrative heavy with cultural idiosyncrasies, sexuality and a yearning for opulence and magic” Martin explains.The multi-faceted works’ biggest strength comes in their ability to be read in multiple ways and reflect back on the person doing the looking; the viewer will be able to bring in elements from their own past, own history and feel connected to the work, like a mirror refracting back onto themselves. Rather than sticking with the tried and true designation of “artist,” while in school at FIT, Martin adopted the label “art engineer,” as a way to maintain a methodical and calculated approach to his work as an artist. “I find that in incorporating a left brain thinking into my process allows me to preserve the shamanistic elements that go into the alchemy of being an artist. I maintain one foot on the ground and the other scaling subconscious slops,” says Martin. Like looking before leaping, this ability to methodically and logically arrange the surrealistic and less quantifiable aspects of his work results in the appearance of a well-remembered dream. While they still possess an air of mystery, wonder, and even a tinge of the nonsensical, the elements come together seamlessly and intelligently, making you sometimes forget that they aren’t real.
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Where: Originally from Los Angeles, Maritn now lives and works in Bushwick, with a studio space in the
newest location at 203 Harrison Place. What: Art Engineer Martin whimsically yet methodically crafts paintings and collages that combine abstract and figurative elements into a surrealistic and dreamlike experience on canvas or paper.
All photos courtesy of Luis Martin
Where You’ve Seen Him: Martin not only works out of BBS 203, but is also the Director of Programs and Artistic Affairs, so you’ve probably seen him around the studios or during their open house back in January. Martin was also featured in the “WAH Bridges Bushwick” exhibition in November 2013, curated by Brittany Natale. Make sure to stop by 203 Harrison Place during the upcoming Bushwick Open Studios to check out Martin’s new work that he is constructing from scrap wood and resin.
Martin’s Many-Faceted Studio
Why We’re Into It: Martin’s work is informed by both a clear take on the old Surrealist parlor game, “exquisite corpse” aesthetic – where each successive image informs the next -but Martin blends this with his appropriation of media and popular imagery. The finished product becomes a conflation of experiences and influence, pieced together by the artist’s psyche, and subconscious. ” While strong elements from Renee Magritte, and De Chirico are evident, his works also possess traces of the magical realism of artists like Frida Kahlo and David Alfaro Siqueiros.