SR conducted this interview with Issue 9 contributor Monica Aissa Martinez.
Superstition Review: If you could give your past self any advice what would it be?
Monica Martinez: I would tell my past self to get out of her comfort zone more readily and as often as possible where art is concerned.
SR: How did you first get involved in your field?
MM: I made the decision to attend college and headed right to art school. It was the only thing I thought I could really do. One thing led to another and here I am. Continuing to make art is probably my greatest achievement continuing to exhibit follows. But I am also pleased that private and public collectors have purchased my work, as it continues to be seen and experienced. That means a lot to me. I want my work out in the world. And it is.
élan vital, my first solo was a hugely important experience for me. It was a beautiful space, with a professional organization. The brochure was well written. The show ran six months; many, including foreign visitors, saw it. I sold numerous works. It stands out as a turning point because I solicited them and they accepted my proposal. I had that wonderful experience as an initiation exhibit, which lead to many more opportunities, and solidified the idea that I could work as an artist.
SR: Have you ever tried to work in other creative areas?
MM: I have a knack for illustration but I’ve not thought of going into that area. I enjoy photography, and photograph people now and again. Not for exhibition, but yes, professionally. I did do stage design. I have been a teaching artist for a number of years now. I used to go into the schools around the valley and teach mask making, story telling through art making. Currently I am an adjunct at Phoenix College. I teach Drawing. I enjoy the work very much. And with all my years of experience it allows me to pass on what I have learned, and what I know.
SR: Please give us some background biographical information.
I am originally from El Paso, Texas. I come from a large family. Education, arts and culture are a priority in my family. I am currently living in Phoenix with my husband and cat.
I received a BFA in Ceramics and Metals, at the University of Texas at El Paso.
I received my Masters of Fine Arts at New Mexico State University. Area of emphasis was Drawing and Printmaking. I covered 2D AND 3D both before I settled into my current areas of work: drawing, painting and printmaking. I also make masks. Though I don’t exhibit my masks.
I have been awarded solo exhibitions. That’s pretty valuable for development and growth as an artist.
My work has exhibited in the Phoenix Art Museum (Local’s Only), the Tucson Museum of Art (AZ biennial ’09), the ASU Art Museum (Here and Now), and Tempe Center for the Arts, Mesa Arts Center, and the Scottsdale Center for the Arts (solo). My work has been seen internationally, and is part of numerous private and public collections including: New Mexico State University, Mesa Arts Center, Phoenix Municipal Court House, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary of Art, Arizona State University, and Brigham Young University.
My drawing, paintings and prints are featured in three publications through the Hispanic Research Center and Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue of Arizona State University. Both ASU and the University of Norte Dame have commissioned me to create limited edition prints. My alma mater, New Mexico State University has purchased four of my works, three of those purchases were more recent. They invited me to come back as a visiting artist and lecture. It was a bit out of body. I also exhibited and lectured at the University of Texas (my other alma mater).
My work has been published in a number of books put out by the Hispanic Research Center on the ASU campus a number of years ago. Since then I have received emails from students across the country, and including an MFA student in Monterrey Mexico connecting with me only to discuss my artwork. The latter included my work and commentary in her thesis. All of that means a lot to me.
SR: Do you have any projects or pieces you’re currently working on?
MM: Right now I am preparing for a 3-person exhibit scheduled to open January 25 and run thru May 5, 2013, at the Mesa Center for the Arts. The artwork in Superstition Review will be featured.
SR: What inspired you to create your piece for Issue 9 of Superstition Review?
MM: That particular drawing is influenced by a book I am reading titled New Self – New World by Philip Shepherd. It deals with planet earth, man and animal, the connection between them. It also deals with the need for balance of the masculine and the feminine / matriarchy / patriarchy, in current times.
It’s my very current direction, all new artwork. A new direction. I am working out new ideas. The one main piece is the largest I’ve ever worked on, and it took such a long time to complete. I am glad to have a photo for you. This image I am including with this text, is the second large work of the series.
SR: Do you have a website or is your work linked to any other websites, blog posts, or news stories?