Interview with Eddie Martinez [artist]

-Ross Simonini

Part II.

[Read Part I. here]

BLVR: Will you stick to painting? 

EM: Oh yeah. I’m not considering doing anything else.  I think that I have easily a lifetime of work ahead of me. I mean, I could look at a painting and make fifty paintings out of it. Just by expanding. Just a style of brush mark. I could take a brush mark and figure out how to make a painting out of it, if I wanted to. In my head, that’s sort of what I’d like to be doing. 

BLVR: How long have you been here in New York? 

EM: Eight years. 

BLVR: Are there any artists around right now who you feel connected to, in any way? 

EM: Yeah. Joe Bradley.  I feel connected to him in that I admire him. He’s always just, like, pushing it. He’s just fucking great. He just exudes balls. 

BLVR: Yeah, his recent show at Gavin Brown was so strong.

EM: It was sick. He never gets lazy. Even if it looks like it took him thirty-five seconds to make something, it doesn’t matter, he’s not being lazy. He’s just, he’s making - he’s giving everything into that body of work, and he’s making decisions, and it pisses people off, and he’s never comfortable. He’s not letting collectors or critics be comfortable. Awesome. 

BLVR: For you, what’s the scale of a painting about? It seems like you settled on this scale. 

EM: At least a few different sizes: 4 x 5 , 5 x 6, 6 x 9. These happen to be 5 x 7… that’s 5 x 6. I like that. 

BLVR: Any particular reason? 

EM: Just sort of what feels comfortable, but, I mean, I’d love to make fucking huge paintings all the time - it’s just not practical. Yeah. 6 x 9 is about as big as I can get, and it’s not only about selling them, obviously, but if you’re investing… it costs a lot to make that painting because the canvas itself is like, about 1,500 bucks.

BLVR: Really? 

EM: 1,000 bucks. And then the amount of paint, you know, it’s a factor. 

BLVR: Yeah, for sure. 

EM: And I’d like to just go even bigger. I think if we were in LA, it would be a little easier, because I’d have a bigger studio, for what I pay here, and people’s homes are bigger. It’s not only about that, after this show, if I want to make five 10 x 15 foot paintings, I’m gonna do it no matter what. But, it also, the scale facilitates me really moving where I’m trying to go as far as marks, because the bigger the scale, the bigger the tools, the bigger the show.

BLVR: Right. And I would imagine maybe even its harder to get at the drawing quality you were mentioning before?

EM: Easier, the bigger. 

BLVR: Really? 

EM: Easier. Because you can go like this. [makes large gesture]

BLVR: But you’re using different muscles. 

EM: Yeah, I have a long arm span [laughter], and from painting houses and doing murals and graffiti and stuff like that I’ve grown sort of used to this motion, and that feels very physical to me, that feels, that’s sort of the effect of the Ab Ex guys. Their whole thing was about making these huge marks, and I really feel a connection to that.