"Untitled" by John Martin
Colored pencil and ink on paper | 1996 | 22" x 30"
Born 1963 in Marks, Mississippi
Creative Growth Art Center, 1987–presentJohn Martin creates drawings, ceramics, and woodwork that synthesize his memories of a family farm in Mississippi with his modern life in Oakland. Martin commonly depicts images of trucks, snakes, pocket knives, cell phones and other items from his collection of found objects, which have informed his oeuvre since 1987 when he joined Creative Growth’s studio. His interpretations both describe their function and subvert practicality through his outrageous animal mash-ups, oversized Leatherman tools, and mysterious text. Fish become knives, alligators become saws, John himself becomes a Nokia phone, a multi-tool is splayed open to reveal a grinning shark. His wry sense of humor is evident in all of his compositions, translating utilitarian imagery into a graphic and animated aesthetic. In 2014, John was invited to create a site-specific installation as part of Facebook’s inaugural Artist In Residence program at the Frank Gehry-designed campus in Palo Alto, CA.