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The Process: Eddie Martinez

Eddie Martinez’s paintings demonstrate an instinctive preoccupation with creating marks.

By utilizing different tools and approaches, he produces canvases that feature chunky forms and smudges that appear to be casual and bold simultaneously.

The complexity of his work is undeniable, and a thorough investigation of his pieces reveals a unique journey through art history – from rock art to still lifes to animation to art brut and from children’s drawings to graffiti, all amalgamated into a gratifying piece.

I had the pleasure of conversing with Eddie in his studio, surrounded by a variety of his new works.

— Ross Simonini

The creative process is a complex, nonlinear journey that involves a variety of different aspects.

It encompasses researching and brainstorming ideas, forming concepts, and then executing them in a tangible form. This process can be unpredictable and chaotic, but it is also exciting and rewarding.

The mysterious entity of a Ghost Fish is an intriguing creature which many people have tried to understand.

This type of fish has a mysterious and captivating presence that has drawn the attention of many. They are an interesting species that continues to fascinate observers.

A painting by Eddie Martinez is depicted in this image which shows the creative process. This artwork displays the many steps and actions needed to generate a masterpiece.

The Believer is enthusiastic about this particular thing.

Eddie Martinez expressed contentment with his project, inquiring if his drawings could become large-scale paintings. He commented that the endeavor felt drawingish to him.

BLVR: What do you mean by something that is “drawingish”?

EM noted that it is difficult to take a drawing and then create a five-by-seven painting from it, though not impossible.

To overcome this difficulty, EM is continually striving to replicate the pen line with the same weight of paint, experimenting with various brush sizes and motions. EM feels that their drawings have become more successful and less time-consuming to make, and that it is about what they see and feel that is important, rather than someone else’s opinion.

BLVR: This piece of art is the most abstract one you’ve created.

EM expressed that of all their work produced, the painting in question was a particular favorite. They admitted to feeling particularly proud of it, as it allowed them to experiment with ideas they had in mind.

BLVR: What are the items in question?

EM: I think the sun made out of collage on raw canvas is really cool. It looks almost like the canvas has been dusted with paint. There’s a faint charcoal line and the sheen of white. It’s very flat and I feel like it is a definitive statement of the collage technique. The design is abstract in my opinion.

BLVR: Does this painting give you the feeling of being in college?

EM: I have no intention to imitate that. Nor do I plan on producing a painting that looks like a drawing. I could draw five sketches here in the span of a few minutes. Maybe one of them will be my favorite. However, I would like my paintings to be as attractive to me as my drawings.

Do you believe that creators such as de Kooning achieved what they were aiming for?

EM discussed that super-confidence is something they possess. Drawing is something that just comes naturally to them, not requiring much thought.

BLVR: But isn’t creating a painting a lot of effort? It’s not a simple task.

EM: It does take more effort to create a painting of this magnitude.

BLVR: Were any of these components created from sketches particularly?

EM agreed.

BLVR: It appears that there are some recurrent visual elements in many of your drawings, almost like a visual language.

EM remarked that repetition is a common feature in his drawings, pointing to the presence of several “eyeballs” and a black “raindrop-teardrop” shape.

Nevertheless, he wants his painting to be more of a focus on the painting itself and the process of creating it than on the repetition of symbols.

BLVR: The use of a recurring symbol throughout your artwork is something that I find appealing.

I have a strong affinity for the painting, but I sort of took it to the next level, making it more shape-based and less representational.

I’m not planning on becoming an abstract painter, nor a strictly representational one. I’m keeping my options open.

BLVR posed the question, “What inspired you to name the project ‘Ghost Fish’?”

EM: That shape down there.

Do you typically titling your work by using an image that implies some words?

EM: Indeed. I agree with that sentiment. It is as if the words are just floating in the air.

BLVR: It’s almost as if you are selecting words that are hard to comprehend, so that the phrases don’t interfere with the message.

This artwork, by Eddie Martinez, is a representation of the process. It displays an array of colors that can be seen in the image.

EM: I no longer desire that to occur. It was simple and widely accepted to do at one time, but now I sense like a piece of the progression of the work is also the titles. It’s not possible to continue labeling them with, I’m not sure, whatever funny stuff I previously designated them.

BLVR: Could you be more specific?

In 2004, I had given the title “Tubular Bro” to a painting of a small figure with a bottle. Although I don’t want to let it go, as my artwork has evolved and I have worked harder on them, the titles have changed as well.

BLVR: What amount of time did you dedicate to this piece?

I spent a summer dedicated to this project and these are the results from that summer and into the fall.

BLVR: You created an exhibition’s worth of paintings in a span of around four months?

EM: It took me less time to create these than I need now. During the end of the summer, I was in Massachusetts. My parents-in-law have a home there and there’s a barn, in which we set up a studio in 2008. I worked extremely hard throughout the month of August–constantly, since my bedroom was connected to the studio.

BLVR asked if “all day” was meant to indicate a nine to five workday.

EM: I’m not skilled in that specific type of artistry. I’m unable to produce something like that.

BLVR: Is the activity happening sporadically throughout the day?

EM: The amount of time spent painting varies, but it can be up to eight hours in one stretch. I don’t have a set plan. I could take a break for coffee then come back to the painting and spend the rest of the day on it. That’s not unusual. On some days, I stay in the studio for up to ten hours. Anything is possible.

BLVR: Consequently, you don’t consider it necessary to be strict with yourself regarding the manner in which you conduct your work.

I adore my job – creating art is my true passion.

BLVR: Different painting mediums such as oil paint, spray paint, and acrylics are used by you.

Yes, it all comes down to the tools. The mark making process varies depending on the tool being used. In this particular piece, the spray paint is more subdued, with the red and yellow in the background being toned down.

BLVR noted that you were covering the painting a lot.

EM: Every painting has many different aspects.

What was the catalyst for this particular project?

EM: For my last exhibition in New York, I covered up a painting called Bad War from 2009.

BLVR: Do you observe any aspects of that one beneath?

EM: Yeah, I had it at home for a bit, but I just wasn’t satisfied. It was a fiveby-six canvas that was just sitting there, and I thought, “Let’s do something with it.”

I believe the purple is from that. I didn’t think it was worth keeping since I didn’t feel like it was a great painting. And I had already displayed it, considering it was a large canvas and it cost a bit, so why not work on it more?

BLVR: Is this related to the painting at all? Or are you simply taking advantage of the same canvas?

EM stated that the painting was connected to the original image in that it was the starting point for the piece. He further added that some of the original elements were still present, and he believed that it had an effect on his decisions as he did not white out the original image. He reasoned that if he had simply done so, then he would merely be using the canvas, but not letting the original image inform the painting.

Did BLVR create the abstract in the beginning?

EM: Ish was the only thing that had the skull, as far as I can recall.

BLVR: Where is the cranium?

EM: Taking a closer look, you can see the small, white gleam right beside the yellow image; it’s the eyeball.

BLVR commented that the form of the object was similar to that of a bird.

EM commented that the design had a bird-like appearance and that it provoked a feeling of excitement in them. They then paused for a while.

BLVR: Do you strive to manipulate your brush in unusual motions when you’re creating your artwork?

EM states that they draw on whatever materials are available to them, whether that be a knife, brush or something else, and they strive to quickly put their ideas down on paper.

Do you usually have a concept in mind prior to writing it out?

EM: I don’t have a plan and instead just dive right into the situation.

Is it your aim to abstain from practices that are habitual?

EM: Avoidance is not the case here; it is simply about keeping myself content and believing I am going forward instead of regressing and becoming unhappy.

This is all that matters. It is thrilling to be able to make what I desire in the studio, but still, it is never quite enough for me. I still want to create paintings that make me even more excited.

BLVR: Do you feel aroused by all these new paintings?

EM: In various forms. It’s all about attempting something unfamiliar that I’ve concocted, but it’s still fresh, I feel as if I’m propelling the edge a bit of what I’m usually doing, and afterward feeling triumphant.

BLVR: Out of interest, what do you mean when you use the word “new”?

EM stated that a new element in their paintings was generated from going to Jamaica and sitting in the sun, drawing all day on the beach. They noted that the sun was an inspiration that connected to their life story, and all of a sudden it began to show up in the paintings. This was simply the result of the artist’s experience with the sun.

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