Jonathan Martinez is an American artist based in Orange County with a reputation rapidly growing through social media, such as Instagram with more than 40,000 followers...so far. Initially expressing his love for art through drawings, he quickly transitioned to paintings, allowing his artwork to mature in both subject matter and style. His Fine Art education secured his goal to be an artist and encouraged him to develop a name for himself. After an experimental search for a fitting subject matter, animals just felt like a natural focus he kept going back to. Striving to give his art a purpose and a sense of awareness, Martinez infuses his realistic wildlife renditions with meaning and an empowering message. His innate interest in animals even led to researching them. This research was so influential on his art, that his works now revolve around and serve as a voice for endangered species. Jonathan Martinez's mixed media drawings and acrylic paintings have been seen in OC galleries in collaboration with foundations that raise awareness for endangered animals. Currently residing in Santa Ana, Martinez is definitely an upcoming artist to keep an eye on. Below are a few questions he kindly agreed to answer and images he was more than willing to share.
Why are animals the focus subject in your work?
The reason why animals are the focus in my works is because, after learning & researching wildlife, more and more animals are becoming extinct or endangered. I want people to take notice in the situation that these animals are in.
What is your affinity for animals? And which in particular?
My attraction to animals has always been there. Ever since I was very little. I find nature and wildlife just mesmerizing, so much beauty, power, and the serenity that you find in animals is so unique. Coral reefs have always fascinated me. As well as all marine life. Elephants & rhinos are great too!
What’s the first animal you studied for the sole purpose of drawing it?
First animal to study just for the sole purpose of drawing it are pigeons.
What made you decide on the name ‘Art of the Endangered’ to represent your artwork?
Having chosen endangered species as my subject matter, I wanted to have a name that would clearly represent what I do. Something people would react to.
Your most recent works are black and white realistic renditions of animals, while in your older work you experimented with a surreal undertone and more color. What led to that dramatic change?
I feel the dramatic change in my art has to do with finding and developing my style of art. Taking things away that aren't working, leaving what is, and bring new ideas.
For what animal is it hardest to capture their wild nature on paper?
Lions for me are the hardest animals to capture on paper. I don't know what it is about them. Their nose is slightly different from other wild cats. It throws me off.
Did art have a place in your childhood?
I wish art played a bigger roll in my childhood. I didn't draw much when I was a child.
Who or what inspires you?
Looking at photos, art, watching wildlife documentaries. Going on Hifructose.com and looking and reading their articles always inspires me.
Is there an artist or artwork that has influenced your art?
There are three artist that have influenced my works: Ben Horton, Josh Keyes & Greg 'Craola' Simkins. All of these guys have played a big roll in the way I draw/paint, techniques that I use, and how I use the materials I work with. They inspire me everyday. I recently came across Martin Wittfooth's work. Very inspiring as well.
What would you like for people to take from viewing your art?
The beauty and serenity these animals have. Also the diversity that you can find in wildlife. I want to show their power, but despite everything, how vulnerable they have become.
Jonathan Martinez is currently working on new work for his first solo show "Rise of the Endangered" at GCS Clothing Store's art gallery space. On the opening night, he will be raffling off two original framed drawings. The proceeds will be donated to Wildlife Foundation. His works can be viewed at www.bluecanvas.com/artoftheendangeredand can be followed on Instagram at www.instagram.com/art_ofthe_endangered (@art_ofthe_endangered).
Saturday, April 5th 7-11 pm GCS Clothing Store/ Gallery 209 N Broadway Santa Ana, CA 92701