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Behind The Canvas
Architect, Artist- Oliver Martinez

I'm Oliver Martinez, Mexican artist, native of the city of Leon, Guanajuato, architect by profession, sketcher, painter and sculptor by passion. I have been living in my studio in downtown San Miguel de Allende for four months so far.

The beginning of this story is curious since I never intended to make a living out of art. I think art itself found me and after almost twenty years I am still learning from this apparent coincidence.

Since my childhood there was a constant interest in creating, sometimes as a game and other times, with the imprecision of an unknown quest.

While nine years old, while in elementary school I began to have a rebellion, seeking different paths to those already established, evidence that I wanted to see beyond the ordinary.

My first approach to sculpture was through something as simple as the system of building blocks. Those who witnessed my development in this activity, didn’t see an artist, but a future architect.

I developed the practice of observing my environment as an indispensable part of my creative process. I was very careful to memorize what I saw in order to capture details that would later become an immediate mental construction and finally take form as a work of art.

Análisis de una vida. 1998

My drawings, might have seemed like a childhood game, but for me they were the possibility of breaking boundaries. Eventually I found writing as a new form of expression, perhaps much more secret and personal. Very few people could enter my world, as it was very quiet and my emotions were embodied directly. Writing was the most direct way to deal with an adolescence that was just beginning.

The drawing technique became more academic because of my first classes in school and I realized that I really enjoyed this part of my life.

Autorretrato. 2000

I was in third grade when I discovered the life of artists like Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Octavio Ocampo and Salvador Dalí. Studying their work was what revolutionized my head, reordering thousands of possibilities and awakening me in another reality.

Dibujo. 2000

At 16 I had my first encounter with painting in a school workshop where I learned the technique of oil. My first paintings were mostly reproductions of European landscapes. These were my first immersion in painting. In these pictures I could practice all the basics of drawing that I learned before. Constancy generated in me the discipline to never stop painting even when I wasn’t at that workshop.

Reproducción en óleo. 2000
Puesta de sol en un puerto de Claude Gellée, Le Lorrain

One year after completing several pictures of medium format, I painted my first original work entitled Essence of Life, which had a total influence of the work of Salvador Dalí. The use of dark and, to some extent, melancholic colors created an anesthetic scene that reflected my meeting point with my real identity.

Esencias de la vida. 2001

This surreal stage lasted almost four years and was a process of self discovery that I experienced while pursuing a degree in architecture. The recurring use of elements of perspective reflected my interest in the construction of three dimensional spaces.

Hombre arquitectónico. 2005

Dark and dramatic atmospheres were recurrent and the use of contrast through terra and ocher colors have faded with each painting.

El sueño eterno. 2004

The piece Human Science fiction served as transition from this stage that marked the beginning of a journey and the end of the influence of surrealism. I consider that with this piece I found a more direct, personal speech.

Ciencia ficción humana. 2005

This phase ended with my first solo exhibition at the university where I studied architecture. The use of pure color was rising as a symbol of a new awakening to another more disturbing stage.

The influence of architecture marked the beginning of an abstract stage where, for the first time, I exploit the stroke in a gestural way.

To be continued….


This is the first time that I have to tell the beginning of my story.

Some people believe that artists know their vocation from an early age, either by some influence of their environment or a strong desire to make a living out of art. In my case it did not happen in any of these ways...


FB: Oli Martinez Mexico

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