Interview with Eddie Martinez
Text by Molly Taylor
Talking reggae and huffing marker pens with the Brooklyn-based painter
New York-based Eddie Martinez paints huge, brightly coloured canvases, often imbued with a sense of menace against black backdrops and harsh spray painted lines. His older works depict a messy, cartoonish version of the world, filled with bulbous figures and wobbly still life, and the artist’s recent move into abstraction is a little like that style being turned up to a hundred percent. Scribbles still feature heavily, spooned by bold primary colours, and the two combine to create a sense of youthful agitation that cannot help but enthuse.
Many of your paintings embody a kind of kinetic energy. How do you think this is imbued in them?
Agreed. There’s no way for it not to inspire the paintings. That is the paintings.
The title of the show refers to the Rastafari concept of 'I and I' - an expression of equality and brotherhood. How does this theme emerge in the show?
I feel very positive when I listen to reggae, even though a lot of its content is about death, poverty and generally shitty conditions for living and creating. I recently saw Yellowman perform with friends. It was truly inspirational - he's a special being. He has had unbelievably bad luck in the health department and he gets out there and doesn't stop moving and being positive for two hours.
Can you speak a little about your recent tennis injury, and how this impacted the way you were able to work?
Well I guess I won't be qualifying for Wimbledon this year. Nothing major: I'm just too fat right now to improve in the way I would like. I had to sit down and stretch and ice my elbow while making these paintings - they're big.
Where do you paint, mostly, and how does this influence the subject and form of your work?
Brooklyn and Long Island. I'm not sure what if any distinction there would be that I could pick out of the paintings. My energy is different in the opposing environments for sure.
What senses (sight, sound, etc.) do you see as most integral to your practise?
Sight of course, but I also have a smelling obsession. When I was in London Tania and I were comparing notes about how to properly huff a sharpie marker.