Conversations with Creatives

Conversation with a Mixed Media Artist

Today I’d would like to introduce you to Breezy Martin, a dear friend of mine. Over the years, we have had the opportunity of taking a few art classes together and it has been wonderful seeing her grow as an artist. She attended CSU Monterey Bay and graduated in 2015 with a BA in Visual and Public Arts with an emphasis in Museum Studies. She is currently attending John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley, CA, working on a Master’s degree in Museum Studies. While art and museums seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly, it is unusual for artists to have a career in the museum field. She hopes to bring a unique perspective to what are otherwise very conservative workplaces.

I hope you enjoy reading about her perspective on the creative process.
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What kind of creating do you do?

I’ve been a “creative type” for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I was into fashion (well, I guess that hasn’t really changed), so I would create these elaborate fashion drawings of dresses. But I realized that as good as my dresses were on paper, unless I could draw a person, they fell rather short. So, I began my focus on the human form. Since then it has evolved from drawing to painting to mixed media. These days I would tell you I’m a painter and mixed media artist and everything in between.

Do you have any examples of the type of mixed media pieces you enjoy working on?

Yes, absolutely. You can always visit my Facebook page which I have kept as a “time capsule” of sorts for my previous works. Here is an example:

A mixed media piece titled "No. 3" by Breezy Martin

This piece is called “No. 3” or “Written All Over My Face”. It was part of a series of works that incorporated English idioms into a storyline. No. 3 was made with acrylics, fabrics, vintage dictionary pages, highlighter, India ink, pens, and LED lighting (which you can see in the eyes).

I love how you incorporate the different mediums together! What do you enjoy most about working on pieces such as this?

Thank you! I really enjoy the process. It’s one of the hardest things for artists to do (at least in my experience), as we often have the end product in our heads and rush through to get there. This was a series where I slowed down and enjoyed each step and was tactful in my incorporation of certain concepts and mediums. On my Facebook, I posted progression shots which I think are fun to see. Especially because we are accustom to seeing final products, not how the artist takes a blank canvas to create a work of art.

I agree, it can be challenging taking what we have in our mind and creating it. Seeing the process is an interesting way to see how an artist works, the way they think, and the unique differences between people.
What does the process of creating something look like for you?

One word: messy. It is taking a plethora of ideas, materials, and stories and trying to form something tangible AND meaningful out of the mess.

It depends on what the work’s function is: sometimes I work off the cuff, other times it is carefully laid out. This series was carefully laid out. I did sketches, tested materials (got to be a bit of a mad scientist at certain points), and got second and third opinions on everything from color to content.

I find the absolute best way to create is to get out of your bubble! Stop internalizing and start talking with both fellow creatives and your “average Joe’s”. Sometimes their stories, insights, or perceptions give fresh life to your work.

I love that, getting feedback from others. I find it easy to get in my own head and seeing things from other perspectives benefits the design of whatever is being created.
What kind of challenges do you face and how do you address them?

I think my challenges are no different from any other artist: “Am I go enough?”, “Why am I making this?”, “How much should I sell this for?”, “What if everyone hates it… or worse: doesn’t get it?!”

I know that my works will never be on par with “the master’s”, but you know what? That’s okay. I try to create work that is meaningful to me. I try to express my internal struggles through my brush, so that hopefully someone else out there going through a similar struggle knows they aren’t alone.

I suppose another creative outlet for me has always been writing. I’m a decent writer and at one point I thought I would write and illustrate children’s books. But that’s a story for another day. Basically, I used writing as tool to let go of my frustrations, sadness, anxiety… and also record life’s happy moments, “firsts”, and stories I’ve heard along the way. I now do the same thing, just with a brush instead of a pencil.

Do you have any advice for other creatives?

Press on. Continue the work. Even if life happened: you got your first job, met someone, got married, had kids, and haven’t touched a paintbrush in 15 years. Start yesterday. The work will change with you. It is your companion through life. You’re never too young or old to start your creative endeavors.

Talk with people. Remember those that inspire you; whether that be through words, pictures, or a smile. Reflect those moments in your work. That’s what makes it unique and strong.

I’m sure you have a creative that inspires you. Analyze that admiration. What is it about them that inspire you? Don’t try to copy it. But try to recreate it in a personal way.

There are always going to be critics and “cheerleaders” of your work. People are going to give you unsolicited advice or want you to create something for them for free. Value your work. Value your time. Value your ideas. Value yourself. If you know your work has a purpose, no one can take that from you.

I have always surrounded myself with constructive critics and cheerleaders. They keep me in check and often make me consider routes I would have never taken by myself.

I appreciate the advice you shared from personal experience. Final question for today: What is the reason behind why you create?

As I mentioned before, I have always been a creative soul. I do it because it makes me happy. My grandfather and uncle are accomplished watercolorists, and I was the only one of my generation (between my brother and cousins) that showed an interest in carrying on that family skill. And I, like many others, have gone through some turbulent times in my life and felt closed off from the rest of the world. I have always wanted to use my art to be a platform for discussing hard subjects that don’t come up in normal, casual conversation.

I have been extremely fortunate to have a supportive family that values my artistic efforts (some are not as lucky). I create as a way to “honor” my loved ones and myself. From their life choices, passions, hardships, kindness, and love I am here today. I am here and unafraid of the creative work that lies ahead of me.

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Read my first interview in this series here: Conversation with an Architecture Student

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