Sometimes its the details of life that you cant escape, one of these might be your past or a past experience. In this new video put out by Art21 Eddie Martinez talks about graffiti as not only a influence but a detail and experience in his life that he cant let go. Although we might not consider an artist such as Eddie Martinez your typical graffiti artist turned contemporary painter he is just that. There are many Eddie Martinez’s in the world whose relationship with art started at a young age through graffiti although they might have quit or traveled another road graffiti was a starting point. A respected and established contemporary painter Martinez speaks about the pressures of painting expectations of having a consistent style and making a change. We also included pictures from his most recent exhibition at the Journal Gallery New York. This is definitely a video worth watching.


“Why would an artist change his signature style after proven success? Walking the graffiti-filled streets of his Greenpoint neighborhood and working in his nearby Williamsburg studio, Brooklyn-based artist Eddie Martinez discusses the motivation to shift his paintings from Pop-like figurations to pared down abstractions. An active graffiti artist in his teens and twenties, Martinez describes both the allure and difficulty of graffiti’s inherent riskiness, and reveals how his work now is an equally risky endeavor, artistically and professionally. A montage of Martinez’s previous paintings —brightly colored and unabashedly representational paintings of flowerpots and cartoonish characters—exemplifies the prodigious output that brought him commercial attention and success, but now represents a style he “feels wholly committed to abandoning.” Despite the expectations of his gallery and collectors, Martinez says, “It’s just impossible for me to keep making the same image I made six years ago.” He describes how he’s both excited and frightened to forge a fully abstract style, to paint without easy reliance on old imagery. Months afterwards the results of Martinez’s stylistic shift—near mural-sized canvases of primary colored forms set against open white backgrounds—are shown on exhibition at The Journal Gallery in Brooklyn. For Martinez, the change was a necessary leap of faith, one he hopes his followers will continue to support.”

Source Art21

The Journal Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Eddie Martinez “Matador.” This is Martinez’ second solo exhibition with the gallery.

The creation of Eddie Martinez’ Matador paintings is a physical bout. At work, Martinez paces around the studio—blasting music, slapping on paint, sanding, scooping debris from the ground and smearing it into a layer of thick paint. Around him, the canvases lean against the walls, tall and wide like bulls, towering, and he bounces between them, working on up to eight paintings at once. “When I’m painting these,” he says, “it feels like it’s either me or the canvas who’s coming out the victor.”

In his newest series, Martinez builds his abstractions from a “loosely fixed” cast of characters. He’s sculpted these shapes to point toward something familiar without ever pointing directly at anything particular: the red slab, the yellow column, the black spade, and floating cube of deep blue. Sometimes, there’s a rogue patch of canvas with the patina of an urban concrete wall.

In his older work these forms congealed into flowers, figures and tables filled with objects, but this new energy is looser, more liquid. From a distance, the paintings appear similar, with minor variations, up close every inch buzzes with nuanced detail—bleeding mineral spirits, gestural power sanding, a tight mess of scratches, a buried cough drop wrapper: a vocabulary of mark making that Martinez expands with every canvas.

Behind the creation of the Matador paintings are hundreds of studies—drawings done on his iPad or with crayon on paper. They are completed quickly and compulsively in an attempt at “exhausting the composition.”

Martinez uses a spray paint can like other artists use a pencil. He thinks of the canvas as blank paper: For him, the ultimate goal is to achieve what he calls a “painted drawing”—a fully developed wet work with the immediate energy of a sketch. It’s an elusive achievement he’s sought for years.

He’s never been to a bullfight. Martinez finds them unappealing, but relates to the sweeping maneuvers and animalistic battle of the matador. He thrives in the conflict of painting, getting knocked around in the studio, leaving the aftermath on the canvas.
—Ross Simonini

Eddie Martinez (b.1977, Connecticut) lives and works in Brooklyn. He was recently featured in New York Close Up, Art 21’s documentary film series. In 2008 he was the recipient of the Bauernmarkt Residency from the Lenikus Collection in Vienna. Recent exhibitions include “Beginner Mind” at Bill Brady, Kansas City (2013), “Body Language,” The Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); “New York Minute,” Garage Center For Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2011); “Draw,” Museo de la Cuidad de México, Mexico City (2010); “New York Minute,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2009); and “Panic Room: Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection,” Deste Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens (2006). His work has been featured in Modern Painters, ARTINFO, The New York Times, Interview Magazine, The New York Sun, The Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, ArtReview, Tokion Magazine, Loyal Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and Art in America. A monograph on Martinez’ work will be released by PictureBox in the fall of 2013.