Patrick Martinez is a contemporary artist, born in Pasadena and raised in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited domestically and internationally.
One of his most famous pieces was part of his neon sign collection, MORE TUPAC LESS DRAKE that Drake actually bought.
I know normally on this site we keep things light (don’t worry they’re some fashion pics), but Patrick’s work is much more than just a flashing lights. He has a unique way of making something stunningly beautiful about something terribly ugly.
I caught up with Patrick a few days after he returned from North Dakota where he was on the front lines with the protestors for DAPL.
What inspires you most for your work?
I’m inspired by America, the whole of America. I’m an American, living in America.
Police brutality, the North Dakota situation, things in Los Angeles could be it, an aesthetic that I see and that I want to share.
It’s about connecting, not about money for me.
Making a major connecting with someone without speaking, without words.
Trump is president now so there’s a lot of room for the type of work I do.
The 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald and Paul O’Neil last summer, both in Chicago. Laguan McDonald was 17-years-old when he was fatally shot 16 times; he “allegedly” went to reach for a knife during a stand off with the officer . Paul O’Neil also a teenager, 18-years-old, was shot when the officer saw him reach into his waistband.
I can show those paintings now and they will still have an affect on people when those stories broke.
It’s about relieving those incidents and not ignoring them.
A turbulent time in American history, this happened and these people were real.
Everything is part deux and volume three, America likes to forget.
I feel like these pieces remind people of what has been happening.
Tragic and beautiful is the balance I’m trying to go for, I’m not trying to scream at people with this shit.
I’m conscious about that, it should be a conversation among people.
If I’m showing a piece about Police brutally I’ll show it with flowers that were inspired by LA, a dichotomy.
Sometimes I whisper, sometimes shout and sometimes I talk loud, it has to be dynamic for me.
I want the person to digest it, not ram it down people’s throats.
It’s about acknowledging it and not ignoring it.
And that’s what I’m trying to do with the work and be on the right side of history.
News blogs and articles just come and go, posts etc.
But, the work that I make is forever.
Where else do you find inspiration?
I’m inspired by films, mostly new films. Michael Mann’s films because he uses Los Angeles as a landscape, it’s collateral.
At night, it’s desolate, it’s empty, no one is in tune with anything, people sit next each other and don’t even talk to each other.
Subtly in those types of movies are enjoyable and help me with my work.
He will show Pico Rivera and K Town, it’s not just Hollywood.
In May Patrick will have his first solo show at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.