Today we’d like to introduce you to Roman LC Martinez.
Roman, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I work in many mediums: film, photography, illustration, and design. My work is a product of what I ingest daily. The people I meet, the dreams I have at night – my conscious and subconscious ebbing and flowing, taking in information and relaying it visually. Recurring themes in my artwork stem from this; the source material that makes up my life as a human. I think it’s important to view life from a third person perspective, the way we look at our dreams. We wake up and piece things together, infer meaning, and point out discrepancies. There are countless moments where my waking life feels surreal or out-of-place and acknowledging this is the first tip-off that there is significance to things we typically overlook or find mundane.
Oftentimes, I work in downtown Los Angeles at a friend’s studio on the border of Little Tokyo and Skid Row. We sit on the roof and look down across the vast and growing population of the city’s homeless, listening to the staccato symphony of Tourette’s calls. I’d never seen such a diverse and beautiful community of people – a population of determined and uplifting spirits weighted by dire circumstances.
As a kid, I was eternally dissatisfied. I would draw a single line on a piece of paper, and upon review, crumple the page and cast it to the ground. My mom noticed the paper balls piling up and grabbed the pencil from my hand. She turned it over, and the simple discovery of the “eraser” changed my life. It taught me that I could work through problems, that I could make a change if I didn’t get things right the first time.
Now I come down from the roof and into the streets. I meet those experiencing homelessness and learn about their everyday lives. My current work is dedicated to sharing the unique and surreal experience of their circumstances, deriving meaning and mythology from this great unresolved social crisis. After all, I believe what I learned as a child holds true for this city – when we don’t get things right the first time, we don’t have to throw the whole page away.
Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
I would absolutely encourage other artists to find a real-world subject they are deeply passionate about and immerse themselves in it – to uncover observations and insights that no one else will put the time in to discover. Make the time to contact experts and those involved in the things you are interested in. Come with a spirit of learning and curiosity and dive into their world. Push yourself to have new and different life experiences. Ask for what you want, not what you think is available at the moment.
As far as technical advice, I’d say to remember that mood is the most important element of a piece. It doesn’t matter if your anatomy or perspective is perfect, or if your value structure is just right, what matters is the way you make someone feel. Determine the mood of your work from the onset, and make the technical aspects of creation serve that mood, not the other way around.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
An endless river of my process sketches and stray thoughts are displayed on my Instagram, @romanlcmartinez, and on my website romanlcmartinez.com
I’ll share directly here that you can best support my work by connecting me to people who want to create meaningful change through artwork and have the financial backing to realize these goals. I would like to work with news outlets covering the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, or with people on the front lines (shelters, care facilities, policy changemakers).
I would love to work in partnership with the LA times and Steve Lopez to cover Skid Row and Homelessness stories via documentative illustration. If anyone has any leads or contacts with the Times to make an introduction, I would be greatly appreciative.
- Address: 5003 Cleon Ave, North Hollywood CA 91601
- Website: www.romanlcmartinez.com
- Phone: 3035037352
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @romanlcmartinez
Roman LC Martinez