Art Muse? Yep.
When I think of artists I actively seek and enjoy, there aren't too many. To be honest, the contemporary art world mildly terrifies me. I'm a visual person: I like montages, powerful imagery, attention to detail. I like certain color palettes, aesthetics, and art with elusive but somewhat approachable deep meanings. Basically -when I see a blob of paint on a canvas, it just doesn't get me going.
What is art anyways? A tampon in a teacup? I find myself pulling an Enid most of the time.
(still from my Film Muse: 90's Pop Cult Movies video!)
When I saw Patrick Martinez's work though, I immediately thought of some of my favorite film idols: Harmony Korine and Gaspar Noé. I'm talking neon lights, hip hop culture, and commentary on present day America. Martinez recently held a show at the Public Functionary in NE Minneapolis called "Buy Now, Cry Later". I had seen a photo of his work in the City Pages and was blown away when I gave him a Google.
Neon signs - signifier of podunk Americana gas stations and Chinese restaurants. They stay on all night, falsely comforting, illuminating deserted streets. Low hums of constant buzzing. Martinez, born and raised in L.A. California, uses these neon signs adding his own commentary on Americana culture. The commodification and blending of cultures, the never ending presence of junk food, and the reality of what it means to acquire success in the U.S.A. today.
He uses a mix of neon signs and acrylic paint for his installations, which I think is a really rad concept. Some of his work incorporates Muhammad Ali, Tupac, and Nas lyrics - being born into an era of hip hop/sports culture. He has agency, he has inspiration, and he has a voice.
One of my favorite pieces of his is called "Inflatable Thug". I haven't seen it in person, but the concept is awesome. It's a life-sized cast iron "thug"/water fountain sporting water guns and an inflatable body. It gave me a Spring Breakers vibe - a humorous take on "thug" culture with deeper and darker meanings.
Overall I think Martinez has a good head on his shoulders. You can tell that he draws a lot of his inspiration from things around him, showing authenticity and honesty. I personally can't wait to see what he has in store. With that, I'm going to leave you with a link to his website http://www.patrickmartinez.com/ so you can check out his work on your own.
Keep it cool,
*all images are from Martinez's website, give them some love*