Brooklyn New York
James M. Martin was born in Fort Worth, Texas and received his BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and MFA from Texas A & M at Commerce. He was the recipient of an NE grant as artist-in-residence at the Longview Museum and Art Center in Texas.
He has worked as a printer at Solo Press and taught lithography at Pratt Graphics Center, Manhattan Graphics Center, and Marymount Manhattan College. He has exhibited paintings and prints in New York, the Southwest, and internationally. Most recent prints may be seen at Central Booking Art Space, New York, New York.
In 2015, I was chosen to participate in the "Then and Now" exhibition at Central Booking Offline Space, NYC sponsored by Speedball. As part of the project, Susan Rostow introduced me to Akua printmaking inks and materials at a workshop in her Brooklyn, NY studio. What most interested me was the possibility of doing monotypes in my studio with the Pin Press. Although I have a printmaking background, I do not have a press in my studio. The Pin Press allows me to combine monotype techniques with the digital print. I created a montage of my own photographs layered with illustrations of human anatomy. I was pleased to discover that the monotype layer added a richness and depth to the colors. This was achieved by mixing a range of colors formulated with Akua transparent base etching ink, Akua liquid pigments, and a few drops of Akua blending medium. The monotype plate ( a transparent plastic sheet) was painted and developed with Speedball brayers, brushes, and cotton swabs. On completion, this was lowered in register onto the dampened digital print and printed with the rolling pressure of the Pin Press. The resulting seven panels became the accordion-fold artist book Skin Deep.
In my most recent series of prints, I extended the range of historic anatomical and botanical images to span several centuries. This was made possible by a residency at the New York Academy of Medicine rare books library. I studied and photographed some amazing woodcuts, engravings, and lithographs. My visual collaboration with these artists/scientists from the past has been truly inspiring. I have been particularly interested in the visual similarities of the branching structures of veins/arteries with the roots/leaves of plants. I used my photographs of tree bark to break up the space and add a new non-specific context to the original source material. The finished result occurs after many layers and a lot of trial-and-error at the computer. I use printmaking rag paper and an archival inkjet printer to complete the digital phase. But it is only truly finished after printing the Akua-assisted monotype layer. It is like the final glaze on a painting. This body of work, Plant/Anatomy Portfolio I and II , was exhibited recently at the Central Booking Art Space as part of the Plant/Cure exhibition focusing on the medicinal use of plants.