We welcome in Oakland-based artist Jet Martinez as he joins us for with his floral Amor Con Amor Se Paga each with custom hand-embellishments. Martinez who was originally born in Mexico pulls in inspiration from Mexican-folk art to create his signature style. Read on to get the full story behind this delicate image…
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece?
Jet Martinez: This piece is a recent example of a style I have been developing inspired by floral plate and vessel paintings done in the state of Michoacán in Mexico.
1x: Was this piece part of a recent theme, series or show that you had? If so how did it fit into that given grouping?
Jet Martinez: Yes. I have been working on a larger series of works highlighting several inspirations I find in Mexican Folk Arts. I started the series as a way to talk about my native culture through the visual culture that pervades every day life in Mexico. I wanted to create something that felt very Mexican while at the same time very contemporary without getting hung up in the usual hot button topics of race relations, immigration, drug wars, etc.
Recently, I have been seeing larger correlations in folk arts from all around the world and have started to delve into larger ideas of art making. Specifically, I am interested in the notion that in many parts of the world, entire communities create an economy based on making folk art objects like pottery and textiles.
Additionally, I am starting to explore ways of mark making that feel very common to many different cultures…in my case, specifically through making florals that have common shapes.
1x: When was this piece drawn and created and what materials were used?
Jet Martinez: This piece was created in February of 2016 using acrylic and ink on wood panel.
1x: Is there anything immediate you would like highlight?
Jet Martinez: Intention is a big part of my process. Whether the work reflects it or not, I do spend a good amount of time thinking about what the intention of the piece will be. In this case, I was thinking a lot about real love… the kind that you work on every day… the kind that often gets taken for granted.
1x: Tell us a bit about your process and how the idea and execution came about for this piece?
Jet Martinez: With this particular piece, the process was pretty fluid. I have been developing this style to create a faster and loser way to work on paintings.
I start by preparing the panel and choosing a background color. Then I draw fairly rough shapes with chalk until I find a nice composition I like.
I paint the flowers by using a technique that some refer to as “one stroke painting”, where one puts two colors on the same brush and forms out the flowers petal by petal.
To finish the piece, I give the whole composition and outline in bright gold around all the flowers and leaves. I add some golden embellishments, and voila!
The process has several steps and has a feeling akin to printmaking.
1x: How long did this take to complete?
Jet Martinez: 5 days/ 40 hours.
1x: What do you feel is unique about this piece?
Jet Martinez: Each one of the pieces in this series is unique. It has it’s own intuitive composition and intentionality (as described above). The colors are striking because I use a lot of blacks in my darktones, and contrast that with bright highlights.
1x: Describe this piece in one gut reaction word.
Jet Martinez: Uplifiting.
1x: When did you first start making art?
Jet Martinez: As early as I can remember.
1x: What was your first piece?
Jet Martinez: I have always drawn or painted, so I couldn’t really nail it down like that…. but the first painting I took months on was an oil portrait of Albert Camus I did in college…at the dawn of my existential angst, haha.
1x: What artists inspired you early on?
Jet Martinez: I grew up in Cuernavaca Mexico where I was blessed to see some major works by Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Camarena, Tamayo, and many of the other Mexican muralists were huge inspirations to me.
But the real dude, was my best friend’s dad, Barnaby Wasson, who was an amazing sculptor, and who created beautiful amazing things out of his surroundings. He really gave me the notion that being an artist was a perfectly legitimate thing to do and a necessary component to any healthy society.
1x: What artists inspire you now?
Jet Martinez: To be honest, it seems like there are more amazing artists now than ever. In fact it can be a little intimidating. I think that as I am growing older, I am starting to appreciate artists who make genuine work and more importantly, who are genuine people. I like artists who don’t just do the same thing over and over, but rather take chances trying out new things. I appreciate artists who incorporate their art into their lives. I appreciate artists who can reach beyond their ego to a greater truth. I also really appreciate artists who seek to uplift rather than depress their viewers… even if the subject matter is dark and dire, I love a little sliver of light. A quick list artists I love: Kelly Ording, Brendan Monroe, Brett Amory, Olafir Eliasson, Interesni Kazki, Pastel, Lauren Napolitano, El Mac, too many…
1x: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Jet Martinez: I listen to music. I listen to a wide variety of music from SBTRKT to Oscar de Leon. Lots of Cumbia, Merengue, Reggae, Hip Hop, trap… and a healthy dose of NPR.
My environment starts pristine and slowly deteriorates into “shit everywhere”. Out of that chaos come shiny pretty things.
1x: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Jet Martinez: Right now, I’d love to collabo with my man Pastel. I don’t know him, but there are some commonalities in our visual language and I could see it being easy to work with him. I’ve been talking with Lango about collaboing for years… it will go down soon. Otherwise, I’d love to collaborate with woodcarvers from Oaxaca painting wooden alebrijes.
1x: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Jet Martinez: I don’t know about collaborating, but I would love to learn about design from Alphonse Mucha. Painting with artists like Jorge Gonzales Camarena, or Remedios Varo would be hecka fun.
1x: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last?
Jet Martinez: I bought an Albert Reyes in 1998. I still have it. My lady bought me a sweet Jason Jagel drawing. I didn’t buy it, but I’ll take credit for it anyway.
1x: How has 2016 been treating you so far? Any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
Jet Martinez: 2016 so far has been interesting. I had a really show- heavy year and kinda burned out on the studio to gallery scene. I’m a person and artist that thrives in balance. I just simply didn’t have enough time to do any mural work because I had too many shows. This year I decided to focus on my mural work, and to spend more time making real connections with other communities. Travel.
The first part of 2016 has honestly been spent doing a lot of correspondence and proposal work lining up mural projects for the rest of the year. I am currently in New York working on a mural for John Fluevog. When I get home I have a nice variety of large and small murals in Oakland and San Francisco. I may be working with Pangea Seed a bit later this year. Heading to Kaaboo in San Diego to work with my pal Amandalynn… then Portland, and on and on. I’m not doing any festival projects because I’m just not in that loop. I’m reaching out to people I want to work with and trying to get traction that way. I’m excited for the rest of the year.
I shouldn’t overlook the fact that I am excited to work with 1xRUN too. I’ve been a fan for a while and it’s an honor to be working together.