Mark Martel—Artist's Statement

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For me, style emerges not just from a particular brush or surface, but from fully engaging with the moment. My most fulfilling work fuses a fresh take on my visual materials, a subject and its emotional truth.

I’ve loved exploring different media since 7th grade. Mrs. Burke made her art room a smorgasbord and encouraged us to taste it all­—pen and ink, engraving, watercolor, sculpture. Years later she revealed I was her most diverse student.

As I went on to create art for brochures, posters, and billboards I found I had the uncommon ability to jump between styles. I called it my low threshold for boredom. Maybe it was something like attention deficit, a label that may obscure other talents.

In recent years I began to do Master Studies. They’re a traditional way to learn from great artists by copying their work. But of course, straight copying was boring, so I always changed some aspect.

Meanwhile we moved to Hawai‘I and I started painting local subjects. And one day it occurred to me to mash it all up.

So in my Fine Art series I ‘repaint’ well-known masterpieces in a Hawaiian context. I imagine what each artist would have focused on, and try to match their technique.

Of course, the real masterpieces are the original landscapes, wildlife, plants, and peoples here in the islands.

Mark Martel
Captain Cook, Hawai‘i