My name is Kyle Layne Martin, and I’m an artist who lives in Mason, Texas….most of the time.
At present, my major focus is portraiture. Other styles of painting as well as sculpture seem to bubble into existence around me depending on internal or external forces. I’ve been a full time artist for six years, but I began painting over 20 years ago. I now seek to create not only unique works of art but a unique life.
Where I’m coming from.
I was raised in north central Texas in the small town of Seymour. There my family farms and ranches land that has been in the family for four generations. I attended Rice University in Houston – pursuing both art & architecture degrees. I spent a year working in London, England. From there I lived in San Antonio for seven years working in an architecture office. Although I love the design process, I eventually felt that I could discover more by creating on my own, and the long periods dedicated to (unlikely) architectural fruition eventually pushed me out into the art world.
Life as a work of art.
Living in an unconditioned 125 year old building located at the only busy intersection in a “Mayberry-esque” town has a tendency to realign one’s perspective. At this point I consider my greatest work to be how i live. The physical, emotional, and financial adjustments have allowed me to sculpt a life where I can do what I desire, in the way I desire, amongst the people I call friends. Today, life is good.
“He who defines himself
can’t know who he really is….
…He who clings to his work
will create nothing that endures.”
-Tao Te Ching
Forming a cohesive statement about my collection of work at this point is a bit challenging. Because my mind and artistic development constantly need new ideas and angles, a diverse approach is critical to keeping creative momentum. At present, I’m typically working on 5 to 8 pieces at once in one of three conceptually overlapping, but visually distinct areas.
My figurative work centers around portraits and collected imagery from my environment. Whether we’re aware of it or not, every person is addicted to the study of the human face. On a daily basis we desperately seek answers from the faces that pass through our lives. For this reason I feel that the meaning and excitement inherent in depicting a face holds more potential energy than any other single subject matter. I seek faces that tell a story, and try to find new ways of artistically rendering that personal presence. Because every line on the canvas has meaning in it’s portrayal of the subject, portraits keep me from becoming mired in repetitive insignificant detail – which often bores me to paralysis. I also feel that the setting in which an artist creates will always have an impact on the work. Therefore, I feel a responsibility to capture my time, this place, and the faces that surround me.
My “experimental paintings”, as they’ve come to be called for lack of a category, are often the flip side of my figurative work. In these works I explore various compositions, new ways of handling a medium, and many happy mistakes that that inform my other work. Although these works lack classical forms, all address classic space of a foreground, middle, and background. Where my figurative work would be considered the scenic stops on a trip, the experimental paintings are the flowing space and discovery in between.
My sculptural work houses my most contemporary artistic mindset. Because I’ve been working with three dimensional space and component parts for so long, my found-object sculptures seem to be the most natural extension of my architectural past. What I love about this type of work is dealing with objects that already have embedded meaning – the palette is never blank. Louis Kahn asked “What does a brick want to be?” This is a question I love asking myself every time another pile of intriguing post-consumer objects crosses my path.
Those who see the value in my figurative work often draw criticism of the time and energy I pour into my experimental paintings & sculpture. And vice versa. To these people I can only say that is your limitation, not mine. Man can not live on bread alone.