Every work in Marina Martinez’s Exploration series is a journey into a new world, steeped in vintage magazine imagery. Her collage artworks are endlessly fascinating - the diversity and juxtapositions of contrasting elements reveal new surprises and stories with each viewing.
The artist constructs her collages using traditional methods. Coined by the poet and writer André Breton, the term “Collage” stems from the French, “coller”, meaning to glue – and this is exactly what Martinez does. She creates cohesive scenes from countless disparate scraps of material, each one painstakingly cut and glued into place. Breton and others in the nascent surrealism movement embraced the freedom of expression this new technique allowed, using it to it rewrite the rules of the art world and break free from entrenched ideas.
Martinez creates fascinating new worlds from repurposed materials: mountains, on closer inspection, turn out to be made of tortoiseshell; Moai statues linger at the edge of the frame; and bottles of Tabasco sauce fly through the air. Wildly entertaining and rich with narrative detail, Martinez’s imaginative compositions reflect her background in film as well as art.
Marina Martinez’s introduction to the art world began in film as a video editor. She lives and works in the Bay Area of California.
When did you become interested in art? How did it all begin?
I used to escape from my reality growing up by creating stories/worlds in my
head. It helped give me a sense of control and a means to express myself. Being
able to create a world others can see and connect with is powerful. Art gives you
power. It’s given me power and a voice.
How would you describe your work process?
Chaotic. When I get the urge to start a collage, it’s usually because I’m filled with
emotions I have to let out. There are scraps of paper everywhere. Piles of pages
organized in a way that wouldn’t make sense to anyone else, but me. Once I’ve seen
a glimpse of an image I fancy, if it feels like it belongs in the piece I’m currently
working on, I can find it easily. I also currently use one stool & a wooden tv tray as
my work station. There is a lot of shuffling involved. Once a collage feels like it’s
complete, I’ll take the individual pieces I’ve cut out and scan them into my computer
so I can animate them if I’d like. Then I’ll arrange the pieces in the order they’ll need
to be glued onto the canvas panel. I need to be quick when I glue, so it’s important
that I prep and plan out beforehand.
Who inspires you?
Everything and everyone I come in contact with.
Which artists/works of art are you particularly impressed with at the moment?
That’s a hard one. I’m a big fan of Nemo Gould and Kensuke Koike. I’ve always
loved the way they change the original purpose or intended use of an item and how
interactive it is.
What distinguishes a good work of art?
That’s subjective. I’ll say that the art I love and deem as good works of art have the
tendency to pull me in and evaluate myself.
What project are you working on at the moment?
I usually do one collage a week, it’s really based on what’s going on in my life. Some
weeks I have more to say than others. I believe the most I’ve done in a week is four.
All various sizes and have different meanings. I am also working on a book that will
involve my collages.
What is the purpose of art?
To help us say and feel what we’d otherwise be unable to.
Does art bring about happiness?
In general, it’s a possibility. In regards to my art, it brings me peace.