We at AMMO are excited to share an interview with the incredible artist, Lilian Martinez. Martinez is based in Los Angeles and is currently showing her work in a solo exhibition entitled, Woman and Women, at Ochi Projects. Martinez’s work is characterized by a bold use of color, an eclectic array of mediums, and an emphasis on women and the female form.
All Images by Photographer Jerome Shaw.
AMMO: What’s your AMMO?
Lilian Martinez: Sculpture, architecture, women, and food.
A: What made you decide to title this exhibition Woman and Women? What is the role of women in your art?
LM: I’m inspired by the strength and beauty in women and I wanted to celebrate that. I see beautiful women every time I am out in the world not matter what part of the world it is. It always amazes me.
A: Please explain your artistic interest in color? What is the significance of color within you work?
LM: Color is important to me. Finding color combos that feel perfect to me is a significant part of my process. The way that colors react and interact with one another can lie beyond language. You can communicate without words.
A: Many artists find it difficult to transition their work into a commercial enterprise. How did you come to create BFGF? How do you manage being an active artist and running a business?
LM: I wanted BFGF to focus on accessible and functional art objects. I love beautiful functional pieces. I think they improve your quality of life. I have to manage my time and prioritize projects. But it is nice to be able to bounce back and forth. When I am consumed by one it’s nice to get back to the other for a bit. It’s a lot of work but I’m happy to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
A: Are there any new topics or areas will you be exploring in this exhibition that you haven’t on before?
LM: I worked with some new materials for this show including plaster, bronze and stone. I wanted to explore new sculptural materials. I also explored working in a bigger scale.
A: You are known to work with multiple mediums from canvas, to linen, etc. Does your process or your topic change depending on what materials you are using? Is there significance to the materials that you do use?
LM: Paint reacts in different ways depending on the material I am using. So I have to keep this in mind when I start a piece. I explore a lot of variations on themes that I am inspired by. When I get an idea for a 2D work I know instinctually what material I want to use and roughly what scale I want it to be in. When I make sculptural work there is more exploration and problem solving in the process.
A: Your work has been associated with art from Matisse and Rousseau. Are these artists that have directly influenced your work? Are there any artists that you feel your work is connected to?
LM: I really love modern art. I would say that I am inspired by the forms and colors found in art of that era in art history. I feel a connection when I see the work of Paul Cézanne and Henry Moore. I am moved by their work.
A: What role does identity play in your work? Do you see your artistic practice as political or cultural? Please elaborate.
LM: I am a woman of color making work. I think that is always going to be projected in my work. There is a connection that exists between personal experience and political and social structures. That experience shapes the type of work I choose to make. I do think a lot about identity politics and cultural issues when I make work because I want to be accountable for the work that I make.
A: What are you currently trying to develop in your art? Are there any upcoming projects you are working on?
LM: I would like to continue to explore more sculptural materials both conventional and unconventional. I am working on a new body of work that I am excited about.
Woman and Women will be open until June 9th, 2018.
3301 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018