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America Martin blends art with real-life events

Arianna Auber

America Martin's art exhibit at the Wally Workman gallery displays her talent at capturing what inspires her.

For example, the painting "Two horns and a tuba" showcases her deep appreciation for music - and for listening to it live, as she did in Austin the first weekend in May.

The Los Angeles-based artist was in town to promote her solo show at the gallery, running through May 26, and she decided to stop by the Elephant Room to enjoy some jazz.

She brought her sketch book and also managed to take a couple of photographs of the saxophone player, even though he was constantly in motion.

This blend of art with real-life events - traveling to places and talking to people - is part of Martin's creative process, which she said helps her learn.

"I want to be taught by everyone who knows something I don't," Martin said.

Her art has progressed and changed over the years, from the time at age 9 when she first realized, after seeing a Vincent van Gogh piece at an art show, that she wanted to be an artist "forever and ever and ever."

After that epiphany, she was tutored by an art professor until she turned 18. Then, she studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Her work has exhibited in cities across the U.S.

What is most distinctive about her art as a painter is her bold use of lines and burst of color, a style invoking that of Henri Matisse, who she said is one of her inspirations for his use of lines.

She noted that she has many inspirations for her work, including a Mexican sculptor, Alejandro Santiago, who created life-sized sculptures of every person in his small hometown who had left to find work and better opportunities.

"I like to travel and find artists in the area who blow my socks off. Santiago blew my socks off, and they're still off," Martin said.

This show is her third at the Wally Workman gallery, which is currently showing off the work of 55 artists in a two-story space. Martin said there are plans to have another show at this time next year.

America Martin: Solo Show