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Mattie Martinez — “ everything has a story.”

Mattie Marguerite Martinez is an American artist whose work spans through a variety of creatives modes of expression. Exploring the boundaries between deeply personal experiences and collective memories, her works often pose questions about the construction and deconstruction of the mind and the existence of being.


Q: Mattie, as an artist, your work is driven by your emotions and experiences throughout your life. How does your emotional landscape feel and look like today? How is your heart?

A: It's an interesting question. My heart in this moment is good. I’ve actually been thinking a lot these days on the heart space and how our relationship to our heart affects our energy and our moods and the world we see in our everyday life. Finding a balance in the heart space is a very vulnerable place to be, but it’s also the place you hold the most power when you harness it correctly. It is a lifetime of working with yourself and recalibrating yourself.

Q: Tell me a bit about you and your journey?

A: I was born just outside of Washington D.C and then moved to Atlanta, where I grew up. Art was my first language and the first way I learned how to express myself: I’ve always been a creative. Ever since I was a child, I was always drawing or making something. Growing up, I always struggled in school and the classic American academic settings. I was so lucky to have my parents, who were always supportive of putting me into extracurricular activities where I felt I could properly express myself without - what I felt - were limitations around how I could be and who I was. I mostly always had some extra art or dance class in my schedule throughout all of grade school. I then got a scholarship to a really amazing art school in Chicago, which was also my favorite city in the U.S at the time and moved there for four years to get my bachelors in Painting and Fine Arts. And, I always thought I was going to be a painter, and I still am, but halfway through my education, I switched into Graphic Design and Visual Communications, and also started working at a gallery in West Town Chicago where I gained a massive interest in the very unique industry and structure of the art world in general. So, I moved to London, one of the art capitals of the world, to continue my education in the art industry. This time was incredibly pivotal in my life because while I had temporarily stopped making art for the first time in my life, I was constantly inspired by the overwhelming amount of creativity and history that constantly surrounded me every day. I fell in love with researching and learning the stories and philosophies behind other artists and their work and London was the perfect place to be in addition to being a direct access point to other art epicenters of Europe, such as Paris and Venice. In March of 2020, I moved to New York for a job at a gallery, where I only worked for one week before the whole city and the world shut down. I was in between Texas and an empty New York for most of that year until a good friend of mine told me to come to Mexico City. I flew there, and once again, the whole course of my life changed. Just a simple flight to Mexico was the start of an entire chapter in my life where I started living nomadically, working with a creative agency in design and art direction and working from the computer, and was also surrounded by some of my favorite living artists that I know. While I learned so much in my time in London, Mexico was the place where I reconnected with my heart the most and became the most “me” I feel I have ever been. I've noticed the patterns of connection to location or connection to places that I have been have always left a big and never-ending mark on my creative journey and personal growth (which work in tandem). I find inspiration in the environment and culture of different places, and this sense of connection has contributed to my vision of the world as well. Now I mostly live in Los Angeles. Throughout the last few years, I had several crucial moments of my development as a creative that made me realize that my expression does not and will never fit in just one or two (or any) categories. I have many many ways of expressing myself all the time, whether it be through drawing, writing, design, and now photography, which I started practicing throughout all of my travels since the start of the pandemic. Photography became a source of creative therapy for me: a way to reconnect and ground myself with my surroundings and develop deeper relationships to wherever I go. For example, photography, like all other forms of creative thinking, helps me see the beauty in everything, good or bad. For me, everything has a story and every story can be reinterpreted in millions of ways over and over again, all the time.

Q: What’s your creative process like?

A: The creative process is an ongoing investigation of intangible concepts that effect our subconscious such as dreams, the essence of memories, time and space.

Q: What are topics you cover within your art and work? What type of materials or sources of inspiration do you use?

A: My work is often very personal and is rooted in storytelling and mark making. Whether it be my photography or my writing or my illustration - I love the feeling of capturing a moment candidly. Q: What are the principles that your work stands for and why?

A: I believe in always exercising my ability of continuous learning and curiosity….I don't ever want to stop for the rest of my life.

Q: Understanding that “success” is objective, tell me about any success stories or do you have a particular story to share that is special somehow?

A: "Success story" is an interesting term because that idea is really what I have struggled with for most of my life. It's been a bit distorted by the capitalist idea of success, or at least that's what first comes to mind for me when I first hear / see that word. It plays into the idea that you finalize a series of steps and processes which are otherwise meaningless until you reach your goal. It feeds into this idolization of "being the best" or perfectionism with these undertones of competing against one another. Everything I have done up until now and everything that will happen after is a success story to me :) Every time I choose to follow what my heart tells me to do and listen to my intuition, that is a success story. It's all about perception.

Q: If you could describe your vision for your art in one word what would it be?

A: This is not one word but, “Live the questions”. After all of this time I realized (and am still reminding myself) that all of my art should always be about me and my relationship to it. I should stop wasting time worried about the outcome of a vision and just follow my intuition on something I feel is right for me to do. The answers will find their way to me. Or, sometimes they don’t. But that is the beauty of it.


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