Spotlight on Artist Ma'Laysia Martin
The Elective’s digital art museum this week features a painting made by Ma'Laysia Martin from Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in Los Angeles, California.
Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. Each week we highlight a work or series created in one of the AP Arts concentrations—AP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing (the AP Program also offers Art History and Music Theory)—as well as a statement from the artist (and, occasionally, their teacher).
From the first cave paintings to contemporary breakthroughs in virtually reality, art, in all its forms, has been a crucial way for people to process, make sense of, comment on, and grapple with the world around them. After more than a year of life in a pandemic, AP Art students have risen to the challenge of processing and making sense of the challenges—and opportunities—that have come from this perilous time. The work they submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment. It’s often challenging and provocative, but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.
This week we feature a painting made by Ma'Laysia Martin from Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in Los Angeles, California.
Here’s Ma'Laysia’s statement on the work:
“The title of this work is ‘Glare and Serpent.’ I had to find a way to paint curly hair without too much effort. I didn’t want to put too much detail in the hair and take away too much from the face. I used oil paint to complete the whole piece. I started with the background first so I didn't have to worry about filling in the edges near the subject when I was painting. This year, I learned that art is a mindset.
“You can’t really force yourself to do it if you’re not in the mood. My teachers taught me how to make an underpainting to give my paintings a more quality look.
“The teachers helped me pick a medium that will look best with my style. I advise other AP and Design students to embrace their art journey and not force false images on themselves under the impression that another artist is better than them.
“I wanted to add a more positive representation of Black people in the art world. I was tired of seeing stereotypical pieces. It is a lot of ‘fight the power’ and ‘strong black women/men.’ There is a constant picture of us being in ‘fight or flight’ mode. I feel that we shouldn’t be portrayed as strong, restless warriors all the time. We need to rest for the sake of our mental health and self-preservation. We can be gentle and sensitive, too. So I painted us in our most relaxed and happy spaces.”
Here’s Ma'Laysia’s teacher LaMoin Garrard on Ma'Laysia’s work:
“Ma'Laysia has had to endure and overcome many obstacles in her young life. She is the epitome of self-motivation, determination, and perseverance—never letting any negative circumstance get in the way of her creativity. She has created a profound, socially relevant, large body of work. We are very proud of her accomplishments and wish her continued success at the college level.”
And here are a few other works from Ma'Laysia’s portfolio:
I sketched out the figure for the underpainting and continued painting in acrylic.
I capture my subject in the comfort of his robe. I sketched out the subject and started shading with graphite pencils and a white charcoal pencil.
I captured my subject squinting in the bright sun. I sketched out the subject and started shading with graphite pencils. I painted the back in acrylic.
I painted a self-portrait with two fish to show that I am a Pisces. I sketched out the subject. I painted the background in acrylic paint, the subject in oil.
I sketched for the underpainting, continued painting in oil. I painted the background in acrylic.
Student and teacher statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.