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Meet Fernanda Martinez of La Tinta in Oakland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fernanda Martinez.

Fernanda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Mexico City and moved to Oakland in 2015 to study an international business program in UC Berkeley. My intention after finishing my studies was to land a job in marketing or sales, as I had previous experience on these fields back in Mexico.

It was no coincidence that being surrounded by a new culture, new people and a very diverse environment, I felt the urge to found a new way to keep my creativity running. I started painting as a hobby and soon realized that this was my true passion, so I decided to create LA TINTA, my personal brand.

My Mexican heritage has a profound impact in the way I’ve developed my art vision and themes; all my life I’ve been exposed to vibrant and colorful scenarios, textiles, architecture and florid traditions that have shaped my art practice and style. Living in the bay area the past five years, where the art community is so robust and supportive, has contributed in my growth as a maker and creative. Luckily I’ve been able to exhibit my work at some galleries, shops and even expand my work to murals over the bay area and Mexico.

Since the creation of LA TINTA, I have collaborated with a couple of brands and retailers by licensing my designs for stationery, apparel and fabric collections. Through these collaborations, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with other makers and expand my vision and creativity.

It has been a fascinating journey so far, full of self-discovery and uncertainty, but definitely pleasing.

Has it been a smooth road?
It hasn’t been a smooth road, as other aspects of life, my professional journey has encountered some limitations over the years. When I moved to California, I left all my comfort, family, friends, job and basically all my life, this is the most difficult part of my journey so far.

Building a brand and an artistic career from zero has been extremely challenging. It has taken me several years to realize that I have a voice and that my way to speak is through my art. The first limitation I faced was convincing myself that pursuing this dream was allowed and that every step I make even if looks like a small one is going to be relevant eventually.

As many other artists, my work has been rejected countless times, from exhibitions, collaborations and competitions; but it is the NO, what makes me persist more.

Even though growing as an artist has been very difficult, living in a multicultural environment has contributed for my work to be discovered and appealing to certain people.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the La Tinta story. Tell us more about the business.
My business has expanded over the years, I first started selling my original paintings and illustrations at local fairs, markets and pop-up shops, soon after I built a website to offer reproductions of these works as art prints, cards and other stationery products. Having a variety of products helped me to expand across bay area retail shops and curated online platforms where I sell exclusive art collections.

As a small business owner and creative, I’m in charge of every single process, just because at this point, I don’t have the possibility to hire another person to help me. This is one of the things that I’m most proud of because I’ve learned how to run a business going from the step 1-creating a product to final step- selling it.

One aspect that has distinguished my business from others is that it has broaden into different products and expressions; some artworks are more than just art pieces, they could be patterns, art prints, murals, wearables, packaging and many other projects.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The fact that we are facing unimaginable times due to the pandemic, not only art businesses but many other industries have shifted to an online sales model. Even though these are very hard times for commercializing art, is amazing to see how people are willing to spend on improving their homes and decorating their spaces, this is a great opportunity for artists to find new outlets for showing their work online and selling it.

It won’t be surprising to see more digital art in the upcoming years, as new technologies are emerging and will be reachable to many people interested in pursuing an artistic career.


  • Original art starting at $75 to $1500
  • Art Prints starting at $25

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Leticia Gravitania, Natalie Schrik

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