The following extract was written by Gemma Jones of Outré
Martin is a painter
who works the wonder of traditional painting within the realms of intense
miniaturisation. Fuelled on a diet of lollies, old children's TV shows
and vintage Japanese collectibles, Martin's visions are a whimsical, nostalgic
trip of sweetness and weirdness.
Frozen narratives are cast with anthropomorphic characters with storybook
credentials. Dogs and cats wear cute outfits while cooking treats,
doing science experiments and racing cars. Symbols from the tarot sit
next to a love of Christmas.
From his home studio, surrounded by Japanese kaiju vinyl toys, old die cast
cars and comic books from the 1960's and 70's, Martin ponders his attraction
to nostalgia and the world of childhood.
"To me, nostalgia relates to of a period of time which predates my childhood.
I am drawn to everything relating to this time period, which was a world
I did not know. Mainly from the early 1950s onwards … When it comes to childhood,
I feel that I am living my childhood every day of my life. I am not simply
having an interest or reflecting on it. The simplicity and innocence, excitement
and discovery of all things new in the world is what draws me to this period
in our lives. I have all these feelings when I am painting or conceptualising
The absolute otherworldliness of that he evokes in his highly detailed narrative
dreamscapes is brought about by this meditation on lost moments in time,
and through the magic of miniaturisation.
Theories of the miniature indeed tie ideas of childhood, nostalgia and the
freezing of time into the process of shrinking worlds. Susan Stewart's
well regarded "On Longing" explores the miniature in a way that makes perfect
sense to Martin's candy-coloured worlds.
"The miniature, linked to nostalgic versions of childhood and history, presents
a diminutive and thereby manipulatable version of experience, a version which
is domesticated and protected from contamination". Susan Stewart, On Longing
These delicately detailed renderings are brought to life by a beautifully
obsessive level of care. Martin paints in a tidy, tiny work space with
his favourite tool of the trade - a customised 000 paintbrush which has had
all but five hairs plucked out. "Perfect for ultra-fine detailing"
For Martin, the process of creation is almost sub-conscious and linked to
a kind of waking dream state.
"When it comes to the actual execution of the artwork I am usually not aware
of it. When I am painting or creating it is the only time that anything ever
makes any sense to me in this world we live in."