Somojo Magazine

Martin Blanco
Martin Blanco - Award-Winning Digital Artist

Hi How are you?
Fine, thanks. With a lot of energy right now.

How did you discover your talent for art?
I think the process was a natural one. I remember myself drawing everyday, as almost every child. Perhaps, the difference was that I continued doing it and it slowly turned in a process where I felt curiosity for learning and improving rather than just playing while drawing.
But I think I realized that I loved art when I was 10 or so.

What or who inspired you to paint/draw in the first place?
I am not sure. I remember that everything was a good excuse to draw. An apple and a glass was enough. I was copying almost everything I had in front of my eyes when I was a child.

What do you think is the most important influence in your art?
Horror movies. Basically, all the horror aesthetic is one of the things that have influenced me most.

Where do you do your work? (home/studio)
At home, in my studio. I have a room with a place to make traditional painting, and a desk with my computer to make digital art.

Do you work from life, from photographs or from imagination?

I use photo references to make sketches when I paint traditional. And the technique I use for digital is photo-illustration. A mix of photographs that I take myself and digital painting on it. Of course the imagination is there to develop the idea and during the process as well. I use my imagination to give me the versatility to change any thing during the creative process. That is why I don’t like to make sketches. I prefer to make a very rough sketch if needed, but just for the main components of the composition.

Gluttony by Martin Blanco
Gluttony by Martin Blanco

What are you currently working on?

I am working on three different projects. Last year, I worked in a trilogy of series about human nature called “Obvious fragility”. I will choose some pictures of that trilogy and combine them with new images to make a story in a sort of an illustrated book.
The other project is a series of oil paintings on canvas and the last one will be another illustrated story. I hope these projects will be finished by mid 2011.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
The subject of the paintings, of course. I don’t care too much about the way I execute the subject. I think art, above all, is communication. So, any way you think on how to express your inner self is valid.

What techniques do you use?
When digital, 100% Photoshop. I like collage very much. So photo illustration is perfect for me. In regards to traditional techniques, I love pencil and I paint oil on canvas too.

What are your favorite materials to work with?
My favorite material is my Imac, 21,5”, Wacom tablet Graphire 3 (I want to upgrade it into an Intuos A4) and my Canon 1000D camera.

Do you concentrate mostly on content or technique in your work?
Content is the most important thing to me. An artist can manage the best possible technique and it can be completely useless when expressing the idea. And since art is communication to me, I put all my efforts in the image and the idea I like to communicate.

Do you work certain hours each day or only when you are inspired?
I try to work everyday, at least for a few hours. But, sometimes I am not in the right mood. So, I prefer to use that time to browse the web and update my website.

Where do you feel your art is going?
I think my art has changed a lot since I discovered digital technology. I feel more comfortable when creating now than in the past. And by using Photoshop, I have more possibilities than with traditional art. And the fact that I have found the style I have always liked and have been looking for, gives me more chances to focus in the ideas and the images. I think my art is maturing, with more intellectual content; with more hours of thinking the idea over instead of just playing while I paint.

Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?
Both, I don’t have a favorite one. As I said before, content is the most important thing in art to me. So every technique can be useful if you know how to handle it. I can feel emotions while watching a piece of art with both techniques.

Working Life by Martin Blanco
Working Life by Martin Blanco

What is your favorite period in art history?

Renaissance. But I love Caravaggio too.

Who are your favorite artists?
My favorite artist was H.R Giger. I still love his work.
In regards to digital art, I like Ashley Wood, Jason Beam, Jason Chan, Chad Michael Ward and Bastien Lecouffe.

How do your market and promote your work?
I have a website, and I try to be in as many art communities I can, as well as social networks like Myspace, Facebook, etc. I do banner exchange and focus my energy in producing new work so that I can have fresh images to spread the word.

Have you held any exhibitions?
Yes, I have held 7 solo exhibitions and 16 group shows in the last 10 years.

Do you think the internet has changed people’s appreciation of art by making it more accessible?
Definitely. Now, you don’t need to go to a gallery to see art. You are just a click mouse distance to any artist in the world. And that means you are at the same distance to their shops to buy something from them. Especially prints, which make art more accessible to people.

What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to take up painting or drawing?
Just draw and paint. Try to learn all you can, don’t be afraid of trying and experimenting techniques and styles until you find what it is best for you. And the most important thing to me… don’t worry about temporary fashions and be yourself. You will find your place in the market if you are natural.

Thank you Martin, for taking the time to talk to us.

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