Patrick Martinez Interview
By Matthew J
Well start off a good intro: Who is Patrick Martinez; the man and the artist? Whats your back-story like? Where are you from? And why should people read an article centered on him?
Patrick Martinez: I’m a laid back dude that loves the arts. I grew up in Pasadena, Ca which is like 10 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles. I started drawing at a young age. I would copy comic book / cartoon characters into my sketch book almost every day. Robocop, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Smurfs, and the whole Marvel roster. I got into graffiti at the age of 12 going to local yards with cheap ass paint trying to get my can control up to par. I would draw pieces in my black book with sharpies and markers me and my brother would rack from Office Depot. I was silk-screening my own t-shirts with my pops in our garage with a one color homemade silkscreen set up, I was 13. I was young and now that I look back, I was always producing art. I get my work ethic from graffiti. The fact that you had to bust a sketch or draw your piece; then get the paint for it and finally produce it illegally, at the age of 15, it takes a lot of initiative to produce a piece. I carried that type of work ethic into my present career with my fine art. I still value my graffiti roots and keep that in my arsenal for sure. I think my visuals are more interesting than what I have to say. I speak with visuals; thats my language. So with that being said, just look at my art. If you are reading this, thank you.
The legendary Los Angeles photographer and director, Estevan Oriol once said that you are one of his favourite artists. Now thats must be a huge boost to your self-esteem considering all of the well known artists whom [Estevan] has worked with. What does it mean, personally, to have that man supporting your work?
Patrick Martinez: Estevan is a big asset to Los Angeles. He has done so much to push L.A. culture out to the world. His name is synonymous with Los Angeles street culture and art. He has developed a style of photography that has been bitten and continues to be taken from even now with the advancements in digital cameras. Estevan and his father, Eriberto are always pushing me with their positive words. I mean every time I see them they have kind words of wisdom for me or even when we are at a gallery opening or something they are telling people that they are talking to at that moment “Do you know Patrick’s work?” then they introduce me to that person. It means a lot to have someone like Estevan with such raw talent say, “I like your shit.” It’s better than a paycheque to have your peers gives you an honest positive critique on your work and I know lots of people can co-sign on that. Estevan doesn’t just doesn’t give props to anyone.
Will there be any type of Patrick Martinez x Estevan Oriol collaborations in the future?
Patrick Martinez: He is taking photos of my big head for my Juxtapoz Magazine feature which will soon be out. Other than that … we will see what the future brings.
As far as visual art is concerned, what do you hope to accomplish through this medium? Do you have a definite long-term goal in mind? What is the mission statement of Patrick Martinez?
Patrick Martinez: I wanna grow as an artist, not just in terms of skill but really digging deep and capturing peoples imagination. Connect with them in a real way…you know make the viewer feel some kind of emotion. I wanna leave a mark on this earth and also with the people on it with my pure unfiltered expression and ideas. I want my personality to shine through the art that I create so people can view my images and visit me even after I’m gone. Keep the money and the cars; I want the museums and books to feature my work so people can continue to visit my visuals. Thats the long term goal. I don’t really have a mission statement. I wanna keep it organic so I can grow with the art.
Your work is beginning to catch a buzz here in Canada. I know that Torontos Show & Tell Gallery is showing you some love. How did you initially link up with them? And what kind of reception and feedback are you getting from the crowds here? How would you compare that audience to the ones in your native California?
Patrick Martinez: Well, Show and Tell hit me up last year for a group show that never happened because of schedule conflict. It was a group show which featured: Greg Lamarche, Stephen Powers, Justin Green, Above and myself. They enjoyed the work and I love what they are doing with the gallery so we continued to build. Naturally it just blossomed into them representing my work in Toronto, the East Coast and beyond. I am really glad to be working with Show and Tell Gallery and hope to bring my work out to Canada early next year for a Solo at Show and Tell.
Also, I heard that youre working on something with Known Gallery? Care to speak on that or is it too soon?
Patrick Martinez: Yeah. I am doing a solo show next year at Known Gallery, sometime in April or May. I’m excited to be showing in that beautiful gallery. Known Gallery puts it down and always produces top of the line shows that never disappoint. They are definitely taking it to the next level for Los Angeles in terms of street inspired art as well as contemporary art. If anyone has a chance to check out a show at Known Gallery in person be sure to do so. It really doesn’t matter what show it is about, you for sure won’t be disappointed.
Lets move onto the topic of politics, for a minute. A lot of artists don’t want to get “political”, but I know you are willing to speak out: Recently, in Arizona the controversial bill, SB 1070 – which targets Mexican immigrants and other dark skinned people living in Arizona – became law. For the readers, outside of the Southern US, who may not be aware of this bill and its manifesto, I was wondering if you could educate us on what the bill means; not only to you but to other people (Latinos especially) in and around Arizona. In Canada, some of us know of this legislation but are disconnected to its ramifications, due to our geographic gap. I just want you to break it down and let us know why SB1070 is not a good piece of “law”.
Patrick Martinez: It’s a bill that gives the authorities in Arizona the right to racial profile. So pretty much they can walk up to you if they think you are illegal and ask for your papers. This is all legal on their end. So the victims are the people that have a dark skin tone. This bill has eerie similarities to apartheid, it’s crazy. This is the furthest thing from the idea of “America” people with brown skin are not truly free in Arizona, their freedom is truly compromised for the comfort of the rest of the people that don’t have a tone to them or look like they are citizen, whatever that means?. Any which way you look at it, it’s truly unjust.
In a form of protest against SB1070, you created a special baseball cap which bore the name, “Arizona Wetbacks”; which not only mocked both the bill and the State of Arizona, but also, went against Arizona Diamondbacks owner, Ken Kendrick. What motivated you to pursue this particular method of protest? Why go after Ken Kendrick?
Patrick Martinez: Ken Kendrick is one of the owners of the Diamondbacks which is a major league baseball team based in Arizona. He supports and funds the SB1070 law. He disregards the fact that he has Latin players on his team that will be applauded on the baseball field then asked for their papers when they leave it. So I had to speak on it you know? I had to shout with this one, thats why I went with the racist derogatory word “Wetbacks”, it references the teams original name “Diamondbacks” and it also speaks on the racism involved with the support of this bill. So essentially I renamed the team and created some fitted [baseball] caps from scratch to push the idea forward. I think is appropriate given the context of this bullshit people are going through.
Thanks for addressing the situation in Arizona; much appreciated. Now back to your art: there is a big show coming up in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) called, “(I Can) Feel The Pulse”, which showcases the works of Patrick Martinez alongside Haruka Sakatani, Huang Yulong, Hiphop Chocolate, Dzine, Jonathan Pinder, and the legendary Emory Douglas. Im curious to know how this show came about and what is the premise of this event? This is a big-deal for sure, so what expectations do you have leading into this show?
Patrick Martinez: It’s a heavy show. I mean Emory Douglas, the dudes work is in major collections and has been featured at MOCA (Museum Of Contemporary Art) here in Los Angeles as well as many other accredited establishments. His work alone speaks volumes. It’s the real deal, no bullshit. He created his work for a greater cause, not to get a rep or some ego shit. It is pure uncut expression that speaks on injustices that happened when he was actually creating them. Then the other guys in the show are major talents…. Dzine out of Chi-town kills it and the other artists are extraordinary talents. I am glad to be a part of this show no doubt. The curator Charlie Dronkers hit me up and asked if I wanted to participate in the show. I read the artists that were on board and said, “Hell yeah.” The idea of the show is to feature the influence of Hip-Hop on contemporary visual art which is such a great concept I believe. This show will definitely make lots of noise in Europe and beyond.
** show runs from August 27th through October 10th
Mentally, what kind of process do you go through in order to create your art? Every artist has his/her own style and technique. In your mind, what differentiates Patrick Martinez and his method from that of other artists?
Patrick Martinez: I think my personality and honesty shows up in the work I produce. Having said that I am an individual and what I envision is gonna be different from others. I am not trying to be anyone else; I’m only interested in expression, truth, honesty and concept in my work. Style is touch which is made up from life experiences I think and everyones touch it different unless you are trying to be something youre not…then in that case it looks forced. Lots of times when I’m driving down the street or taking a shower a flash or visual will show up in my head. Sometimes its realized already, sometimes I work it out in my sketch, sometimes I find it in the painting. Also when I see something, lets say on the street I have a dialog in my head about it. I work stuff out in my head then sketch it then work on composition and jot down quick notes. I wanna make the familiar and everyday new for the viewer; maybe have them see an object or person in a new light which is my filter, my vision, what I see. My art is loaded with my personal experiences and visual tastes mixed with a concept. So it is like no other because I’m my own person.
Word Association: I give you a word and then you give you me the first word/phrase which comes to mind.
*Los Angeles – Home
*God – I thank him / her everyday
*Greatest fear – getting to comfortable with my art
*Greatest joy – family, loved ones and a sense of accomplishment
*Competition – full of it
*Artistic Integrity – means everything to me
*Pride – I have too much of it.
*Biggest goal in life – release a book and show my works in museums around the world.
*Inspiration – people, stories, text, injustices, the streets, american culture, politics…the list goes on.
*Motivation – family, ideas, pushing concepts forward, new mediums,
*Patrick Martinez – work in progress
Any parting words/shouts you’d like to give?
Patrick Martinez: Much respect and love to everyone grinding out for their dreams. Much appreciation goes out to: SA Studios, Known Gallery, Show and Tell Gallery, Mama showroom, Senses Lost, my family, loved ones and everyone that follows the work I produce, thank you for the support it means so much.