America Martin is a Colombian-American fine artist based in Los Angeles. America attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as a scholarship student, and completed an eight year apprenticeship with Professor Vernon Wilson of the Art Center College of Design in California. Her work is heavily rooted in the masters, but is distinguishable as her own with a palpable positive spirit and recognizable human expression.
View a 2012 interview with America Martin below.
America’s Colombian heritage is obvious and alive in her work. Roberta Carasso, Ph.D (noted art writer and National lecturer on Pablo Picasso’s Legacy for the 21st Century) says of America Martin, “Within her visual narratives are ties to an indigenous art originally formed from blending Hispanic, European, and African cultures. In particular, her lively scenarios are created with bold lines, striking combinations of color, and compositions that are generous in size and emotion. Martin’s people are larger than life, reminiscent of figures in murals of Latin heroes and heroines. Within her pulsating interplay of color, texture, line, and shapes, there is always Martin’s signature expression that identifies each work as America Martin.”
America creates her paintings on raw canvas, using layers of oil and acrylic paint protected with varnish. “I love the way the raw canvas drinks in the color. Painting on natural fibers, un-slathered with the conformity of ice-cold gesso, makes each canvas feel like a free, breathable piece of paper. The painter is invited in. The paint acts like ink. Colors are awakened and come alive.” Her works are often large, and possess confidence and innocence simultaneously. America has the remarkable ability to project her hopefulness, truth and positive nature onto canvas, inspiring the viewer with her passion for people and life. She loves children, and was the first artist in residence at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, post Hurricane Katrina. Funded by a grant from the Mississippi Art’s Commission, America worked with children for four weeks in a program that each student had to apply to get into. “Through the Eyes of Children” was the culminating exhibition. The excitement, spontaneity, freedom, and passion that America was able to draw out of the children’s inherent nature are both impressive and heart warming.
“America ’s talent comes flying from the unknown source of true genius – and yes, I am comfortable using that word to describe her. I will never forget that moment (entering her studio for the first time)…I was looking at a pure creative force – the likes of which I had never seen. I live with America ’s paintings; simple, clean lines that delight in the human form… and color! America remains an audacious, exuberant, brilliant artist who has never stopped painting.”
– Mary Steenburgen.
America Martin Accepts No Substitutes
By STACY DAVIES
Thursday, Mar 15 2012
In a world that rewards derivative creation, it’s rare to walk into a gallery and encounter work influenced enough by past masters and movements to indicate the artist actually knows something about her predecessors, but also stands so uniquely stamped with the artist’s personality that pinpointing from where she derived this influence is befuddling. You can call it artistic déjà vu, not to be confused with the deflating realization you actually have seen the work before because the artist is just one in a sea of mimics. There’s also something to be said about style, in general; whereas many artists interpret “style” as creating the same image over and over again, it takes a truly invigorating and fresh image to make this repetition work—Keith Haring, for example.
Most artists who attempt this repetition merely produce endless echoes in varying hues with no new content, mistaking signature for style. Picasso’s “style” changed repeatedly over his lifetime, of course, and it’s an apt reference when it comes to the abstractions of Colombian-born painter (and now sculptor) America Martin. The magnetic pull of Martin’s work is authentic, generated by both her ability to express a unique gesture that speaks to a universal truth (thus, we recognize it instantly) and her exceptional skill at rendering that truth via the human form in bold, compelling movement, creating a stylistic link among all of her work without the feeling she’s phoning it in or stuck in a loop.
Color is essential in Martin’s work, and she uses it sparingly yet boldly, much like a subconscious indicator of the emotions and personality of the people we meet. Line is also key—thick, heavy strokes that are never subtle, no matter the content or sentiment, framing features within faces and minutiae within landscapes. Most powerful, perhaps, is Martin’s choice of subject, which, filtered through her unique lens, is rendered in such a way that it creates a story within each canvas; this work is alive, she seems to be saying, and it wants your attention. She has it.