My artistic journey really started as a child. My father is an exhibiting artist and he also once owned a gallery in Marseilles. I was very fortunate to have access to so much art and so many artists as I was growing up. I inherited my father’s passion for art. From there you find your own way and as I got older I realised how lucky I am to have been born to such colourful parents. My mother Daniele is also big on art and literature. She worked in theatre and at The Cineville in Marseilles which is, as the French called it a ‘Cinema d ‘Art et d essaie’ – basically non-commercial films where actors and directors come to present their latest work. I remember meeting Jean-Pierre Léaud – protégé of French director François Truffaut when I was fourteen. Moments like that just stay with you.
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There are many highlights in my career and each show has it’s own promise. However, if I had to single out a few shows I would include winning first prize at the Cork Street Open Exhibition in 2009 and being chosen to design a Faberge egg for The Big Egg Hunt in London in 2012. This was a real pleasure because I could take my kids to see my creation among all the other beautiful big eggs. My two kids looked so proud, which was very special and not only that but it was for a good cause as the money raised went to Child-Line and the Elephant family.
I’m currently working on a few projects; one called Trees Of India – an installation of 111 sculptures. This is an ongoing project which requires a great deal of work. To date I have completed 40 of the sculptures. The other project I'm also working on is a mural made of strips from multicultural newspapers of different and diverse groups in East London; Polish, Russian, Bangladeshi, Indian and French to name a few. This work reflects the movements of immigration and the energy brought about by our multicultural societies. It has been designed especially for an upcoming all women exhibition called #51%RememberHer which is curated by Rebecca Feiner. It is previewing on the 8th of March for Women’s Day at The Tower Gallery, a celebration of women!
From the 17th – 19th March I will be exhibiting at the Talented Art Fair in Brick Lane, London. Art Fairs are great fun and I am really looking forward to being among friends in buzzing Brick Lane!
Where does the magic happen? In a studio filled with tools! I have more chisels than paint brushes and my work is very physical. Having said that, I find that I adapt to my circumstances and my work and the materials I use automatically reflect that. I guess what I’m saying is that if you have a creative mind, anywhere will transform into a studio or prep room. Imagination has no schedule and much of one’s work is done in one’s mind first anyway.
Method and Approach
I like working with recycled objects and resistant materials. My practice is very physical and hands on as most of my materials will be sculpted, torn or mixed. My creative approach is mostly intuitive, conceptual and experimental; which is great fun. Know your material and never resist or work against the properties of a particular material.
My inspirations are many and diverse. I love modern art, particularly Picasso who remains the master of modern art. Antoni Tàpies for his sand work and female artists such as Louise Nevelson for her sculptural compositions. There are also the abstract impressionists like Lee Krasner and Agnès Martin for her minimalist style and Louise Bourgeois purely because of her fearless approach to her work. The last but not the least of my inspiration comes from my own father, Yann Martin.
In my opinion it’s vital to be interested not only in all aspects of the arts, theatre, cinema, diverse culture, etc. but also in current affairs. You need it all for inspiration and to feed your work. There is no time limit to define the completion of a work; there is only your gut instinct. You need to know when enough is enough because with mixed media the end result can easily go very wrong.
Marketing and Promotion
As far as marketing and promotion are concerned, there are many channels to try. The obvious one is social media and on Twitter you should follow not only established artists and galleries but amateur artists too. A useful tool to employ on Facebook for instance is to boost a post and target specific groups of people or countries – for a small fee each week.
Interaction on social media is crucial and needs to be regular as well as a truthful reflection of you. This interaction needs to be supported by an up to date website where more of your work and info about your next exhibitions can be found . Think of your website as the body of your work and social media channels reflecting your personality. That is where people interested in your work will engage on a deeper level so be very clear and secure about what you put out there. It’s there to stay - unfortunately.
Make use of the internet, it’s great and it means that you can reach many people but it also means that you have to compete with just as many people for your work to be seen. It’s a simple fact that there is an abundance of amazing artists with many good ideas and great skills out there. So it is not arrogance to have an unshakeable belief in yourself but a must! Believe in your core that you are talented and special – a necessity to stand the test of time as an artist.
Exhibitions and Shows
I’ve been very fortunate to have had exhibitions and shows in Paris, Marseilles, New York, Venice and London. As I mentioned earlier in this interview to be one of 200 artists that took part in The Big Egg Hunt 2012 in London was an incredible honour. My Faberge egg was called ‘Blossom’ which was sold at auction after the hunt and sadly I have never discovered the identity of the buyer. I have also had work sold for other charity auctions including The Italian Cultural Institute.
From February to March 2017 I will be exhibiting in the 100% Abstract exhibition at Le Dame Art Gallery in Regent’s Park then in March I’ll be at the Tower Gallery’s #51%RememberHer exhibition in East London for Women’s Day. Later in March I’ll be at the Talented Art Fair in Brick Lane on the 17, 18, and 19.
Obstacles and Challenges
To overcome obstacles and challenges you need resilience with the absolute need to be creative like you need to breath! Be patient and with these qualities and principals obstacles and challenges won’t bother you as much or for as long BUT the positive stuff will push you on. You will get rejected and you will be accepted. That’s a fact. The bigger your community the more opportunities you will encounter. Stay open minded and be generous.
Tips and Advice
Use social media to show your work and promote yourself. Get inspiration from other artists; look at their techniques and from these new ideas make your own. Get together with other like-minded people. The bigger your artist’s circle the more opportunities will come your way. Go and support. Get out there. Be curious. Be generous. Be happy in the knowledge that you are so privileged to have discovered your passion.