Mauro Martinez's work is notably recognizable regardless of the style he pursues. The emotional connection to his work seems almost as vivid as the color pallet he chooses. His answers to this session of 9.5 questions are just as varied and vivid. Please enjoy...
1 – Your aesthetic, especially in your paintings, is recognizable but extremely varied. Do you make a conscious decision going into a painting of a face for example that you will tackle it with a certain style? ..or do you have to start the project and let it evolve?
This process is difficult to address. I have always believed that concept should precede craft, and that the direction I take stylistically will always be dictated by what i’m trying to say. But this thinking presents a strange contradiction because sometimes what I am trying to say doesn’t fully present itself until the painting is finished.
2 – What living artists do you follow/admire?
HK based artist Simon Birch is probably at the top of my list right now. I’m constantly referring back to him. Not only because of his work, but his work ethic as well. Gerhard Richter also continues to have a monumental influence on me. I also steal a lot from my girlfriend, Christina. She has no professional training whatsoever so her work is unfettered. Alex Kanevsky, KwangHo Shin, Jenny Saville, Antony Micallef - they occupy a large portion of my heart.
3 – You have spoken about using art as a coping mechanism to deal with the human condition…what other outlets do you have?
Remarkably few. I’ve only ever taken two painting classes, and the first was at the Art Center College of Design in California. I was there for two semesters before I dropped out. During my “Painting I” class I got a call that my brother had passed away the night before of a heroin overdose. They were in Texas and I didn’t have money to fly back, so I walked back into class and finished my painting. I established a very real, visceral attachment to the medium that day.
4 - You can only eat three foods for the rest of your life….what are the three?
Easy! Chili (Texas style, please), Ramen, and brussels sprouts (baked).
5 – You walk next to a building under construction and a mason accidentally drops a brick striking you square in the head. You recover, but are stricken with amnesia that renders you unable to remember how to create art…or remember that you even enjoy it. What other career would you pursue?
I was studying nursing before I really started painting. I’d probably go that route.
6 – You have used photography from medical journals as subjects for many of your recent works. Do you feel this type of subject matter heightens the emotional output where your art is concerned? ...or are you able to disconnect?
Both. I can’t help but be moved by the initial sight, but part of the concept behind the work is our ability to disconnect - to dehumanize and objectify. In his book The Birth of the Clinic, Foucault calls this the “medical gaze”.
7 – What is your favorite album? If you were a rock star what would you be: lead singer, lead guitar, drums, trombone, something else?
Soup by Blind Melon. Harmonica.
8 – Has teaching art helped you in your own art in any way? Is it something you want to do more?
Definitely! Having to verbalize what you’re doing really solidifies your process for you. And, yes, I’d love to.
9 – You have done several sketches/drawings with large fingers protruding or replacing appendages from human figures…what is the inspiration for this?
Do you remember being in elementary school and making those hand-turkeys around Thanksgiving? That!
9.5 – If I moved out of Texas…I would move to __________ , ___________ . (city and state)
Answer: San-Francisco, California. My southern skin can’t stand the winter, and winter is summer over there
You can find Mauro here:
All art displayed in this blog is ©®™ by Mauro Martinez (exception Blind Melon video)