America Martin is an American painter and sculptor who is represented and collected internationally. Referring to herself as a painting anthropologist, her primary subject is the human form. Her distinctive style mixes abstract and indigenous motifs and is often compared to the mid-century masters. She credits her Colombian roots for her aesthetic and tastes.
Family and early life
America was born in Los Angeles in 1980 to a family of artists. Her uncle is painter Knox Martin, her father is artist, matador, and published author Ernest J. T. Martin, her mother is an academic, and her siblings all went on to pursue careers in the arts. At the age of nine, she came across a book on Vincent van Gogh and began to draw. Shortly thereafter, she began an eight-year apprenticeship with Vernon Wilson who was a professor at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She also worked briefly as an actress, notably as Patsy in Disney's The Rocketeer, while attending Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, California.
During her fifteen-year practice, she has worked in a variety of media including painting, drawing and sculpting in steel and aluminum. Perhaps her most iconic work is her large format paintings of nudes. Of these works, art critic Stacy Davies wrote, “Martin’s women are hyper-real… They are solid, immovable, inerasable; they are present. They cannot be dominated, but not because they are angry or violent or ugly, but because they are stoic and centered and complete.” In addition to her female nudes, Martin's subjects include jazz musicians, boxers, Native Americans, street scenes, landscapes and still lives. Martin's process is intrinsic to the work itself. She uses her whole body when painting, using the length of her arms to control the strokes. Her move to a new studio in Silverlake in 2009 allowed her to refine her process and experiment with a variety of new media. It has and continues to act as a venue to host a variety of cultural events that support artist and community. She traditionally works in collections- painting and drawing a unique body of work distinct to the location of the exhibition.
Martin has been shown and collected internationally. In 2002, she had her first solo show in Beverly Hills and has since been exhibiting in solo and group shows. In 2009, she received a residency with the Walter Anderson Museum of Art with a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. She has been represented in Austin, Laguna Beach, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York City, Ontario, Santa Barbara, Taos and Maine. She is currently working on a multimedia show about her native Los Angeles for 2014.
In 2010, Martin's first book was published titled Insouciance, which featured the artist's early career paintings and drawings. Scheduled for release at the end of 2013, her second book entitled Yes will feature work from 2009 to 2012. Both are published by Snail Press Publications.
America Martin married Cinematographer Ross Richardson in 2008. They divorced in 2016.