Pablo Picasso was one of the world’s most prolific artists and is known for having painted over 2,000 pieces and creating 50,000 works of art in sculpture, ceramics, prints, and more. At the rate Christopher Martin has produced stunning works of art over the last twenty-plus years, he will be joining Picasso in the history books.
Beyond simple productivity, Martin’s work is mesmerizing, hypnotic, and even meditative, especially in light of understanding how the work is created. While Martin has painted several hundred canvases, his reverse glass paintings—actually painted on Lucite for durability— capture the viewer and hold them in rapturous engagement. Painted from foreground to background, the exact opposite of working on canvas, reverse glass painting creates luminosity as each layer enhances the one before it. “Canvas never has a finish line. There is nothing that forbids the artist from going back months later,” explains Martin. “With acrylic there is a natural end to the piece.
In his studio, Martin works with heat, wind and water to create, what appears to be random, and happenstance reactions, but in fact are intentional goals. “I see something in the experimentation then I work my best to refine it and control it. It is taking the random event and then articulating that into something that is more intentional,” explains Martin.
“The beginning of a series is much looser and random. By the end of the series, I have taken that randomness and made the painting that I wanted to make in the beginning,” Martin says. “I like to create volume and review to see what works, and try to incorporate that into my next paintings.”
By working this way, Martin has produced over 4,000 works of art, which in its own right is impressive. But, for Martin, the number of, what he calls, “inspirational pieces” is far fewer. “It’s those pieces that keep me moving forward. They show up two or three times a year, when I know I just nailed it and the finished piece is exactly what I want it to be. I am always working to recapture that feeling.”
Martin began painting on glass when he was 19 years old. As he became familiar with the feel of paint on glass, he continued his self-schooling and crafted his own style for fine art. Working in the financial business and realizing he lacked enthusiasm for it, Martin explored art and received his first commission for $400 over two decades ago.
“Once I found that people admired my work and were willing to buy it, I just went for it,” Martin says. Going for it meant leasing his first studio with only the next month’s rent in the bank. Thankfully he sold enough to stay open a second month, and a third.
Fast forward to 2016, Christopher Martin Galleries are now located in Dallas Design District, Aspen, Colorado, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Martin is also excited to be able to work on philanthropic endeavors including Kidz Creation, where he paints with groups of children from non profits such us Scottish Rite Hospital, Make a Wish, March of Dimes, and Children’s Cancer Hospital in Dallas. Since 2002, the paintings by these children have raised over $500,000.
Martin admits that part of his prolificacy stems from working with the kids. “There are fun discoveries with the children. It’s more just the attitude that the kids have,” Martin explains. “The kids do not have a strong ego yet. They don’t see anything they do as bad. I think, as we get older, we learn to feel that our creative efforts are judged, and it takes the exploration away.”
Picasso said, “It took him a lifetime to paint like a child.” By painting with children, Martin is able to recapture, and retain, that youthful innocence which helps him create a wealth of art that makes the viewer rich.