Spotlight on Artist Nicholas Martinez
Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. This week we feature a mixed-media work made by Nicholas Martinez from Mt. Diablo Unified School District in Concord, CA.
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. In 2020, there is a lot to process and grapple with—and AP Art students have risen to the challenge. The work many of them submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment, from commentary on the covid-19 pandemic to the celebration of people of color to the nature of heroism in perilous times.
The work is often challenging and provocative but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.
This week we feature a mixed-media work made by Nicholas Martinez from Mt. Diablo Unified School District in Concord, CA.
Here’s Nicholas’ statement on the work:
I am interested in how art can be used to describe personal, cultural conflict. My essential question was: How can I create art that communicates the way I feel about being a Mexican-American and personal conflicts I live with in a bi-cultural environment?
I explored traditional Mexican media like printmaking, papel picado, and patterns juxtaposed with modern technologies such as laser cutting, vacuum forming, and Adobe Illustrator, then combined them with traditional imagery to create conceptual illustrations representing the psychology of being Mexican-American.
In these signs, which are 50 inches tall and were created using matboards cut with a laser cutter that were vacuum formed onto thermoplastic at high temperature and spray painted, I realized words—more importantly signs—can communicate very direct messages about questioning racial identities.
Here are a few more pieces from Nicholas’ portfolio:
I designed eight ink blots as a pseudoscience test for bi-cultural people to determine if one is Mexican enough, then transformed them into street posters.
I researched Mexican papel picado, then designed this (which is 78 inches long) in Adobe Illustrator and laser cut it onto tissue paper.
A 24-inch-by-12-inch piece designed in Adobe Illustrator and created as mock-up in Photoshop.
Student statements are lightly edited for clarity.