Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Interview: Lydia Martin
Christopher Moonlight: Who is Lydia Martin, when she's not an artist?
Lydia Martin: It's safe to say I am the average woman, juggling being a mom and keeping my family together in this crazy world. I used to be a graphic designer so switching to being a full time painter and mommy is quite a different schedule. When I'm not painting or being the taxi driver, accountant, cook, maid, tutor,nurse, coach, counselor and cheerleader for our family I'm usually outdoors...gardening, hiking, biking or hanging out with my hubby and friends over a bottle of wine listening to my favorite music. I live a busy but fairly simple life.
CM: How does this tie in to Lydia Martin the artist?
LM: Drawing/painting is something that is more than a job for me. I need it to be whole person. It’s always been that way for me too, even as a child. If I've gone too long without doodling in my sketchbook or getting paint on my hands I start to go a little coo-coo. It's good therapy for me. Now it's a little different because I am forced to paint to meet deadlines for shows and commissioned pieces which can be difficult. But it's a good challenge and keeps me motivated so I don't mind it at all. I’m doing what I love.
CM: Tell me about painted ladies. What is it about women with tattoos that attracted you?
LM: The Painted Lady Project is a series I began when I started noticing how hugely popular tattoo has become, even with women. In our generation, seeing a woman tattooed from head to toe is not uncommon or weird. I'm a curious person and began asking these women about their tattoos. Most of them had these very deep, meaningful stories behind them, whether it was about love lost or gained, personal triumphs, milestones, reminders of who they’ve become or just great art that they loved. I immediately felt compelled to bring these stories to the canvas and give some kudos to the women that have the courage to adorn their life stories on their sleeves, literally. In turn, I have met some great people and have a new appreciation for the talent of the tattoo artist, as well.
CM: Most of the women you paint seem to have a sadness about them. Is that fair to say? What is going on in their minds?
LM: I don't know if "sadness" is the right word. It's definitely emotion you are seeing there though. I am personally very thoughtful and emotional, maybe more than I should be. So, when I paint that emotion seems to come through. Some of them are contemplations of love, depression, addiction, death and other “sad” subjects but I’d like to think it’s more about how we let those things effect us or how we feel about the decisions we’ve made regarding those parts of our lives. I use women a lot in my paintings because not only are they much more beautiful and visually striking but they tend to be more emotionally open creatures. Is that sexist to say that? Anyway, each painting carries a different emotion that anyone, male or female, can relate to. I think they mostly just expose the vulnerable side of being human.
CM: How would you want a viewer to relate to you and your paintings? What do you think their takeaway should be?
LM: It's fulfilling to hear from viewers that a painting "spoke to them" or that it conveys something they are going through at that time in their life. So many people have told me that a particular painting encouraged them or inspired them and that's just crazy to me because I’m just painting about my own experiences and emotions. But I think it has something to do with the fact that they realize they aren't alone. That others face the same trials and feel just as vulnerable as they do at times. But even if a viewer doesn’t take away something deeply emotional from it, I would be happy if they just liked to look at it and enjoyed the composition. To make a painting that catches people’s eye takes skill as an artist and that is something I am still learning.
And now a little Q&A segment I like to call, The Drawing Of The Three:
CM: What art books do you take to bed with you?
LM: A random mix. Lately, I’ve been reading up on tattoo art and the roots of the whole movement. My latest purchase was The Sketchbook, which is more about different tattoo artists around the world and their view on it all. I also love to thumb though art books about Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer or Alphonse Mucha. I love the Art Nouveau style!
CM: Tell us your favorite joke or riddle.
LM: I would have failed as a stand-up comedian. I hear a lot of good ones from friends but when it comes to retelling them I always seem to leave out the most important parts or my timing is off. And then there are crickets.
CM: What character in a movie made you think, "I should have played that role!"
LM: None. I would have failed as an actor as well! But I recently watched The Wackness and loved the characters in that movie. And the music! Rent it...it’s good!