I was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, and as a boy, immigrated with my family to the U.S. via Ontario, Canada.
After graduating from the University of Houston, I enjoyed a distinguished career as an architect and designer. I was involved in the design, development and management of numerous high-end, high-profile projects, including retail stores for Versace, Max Mara, and Dolce & Gabana, as well as the owner's suite at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
I also had a flourishing parallel career in architectural illustration and in the 1990s I began to paint commissioned works for private clients, first in watercolor and then later moving to oil. Initially I felt more comfortable painting landscapes and cityscapes, drawing on my many years as an architectural illustrator, but my interests soon expanded to include urban scenes, seascapes, still life, portraits and animals. I have recently been painting more and more commissioned portraits, which I find both challenging and inspiring. What is the spirit, the light within each of us that animates us? I strive to capture that essence of each person in my portraits.
Paris is, I think, the most beautiful and romantic city. I loved lingering and just sinking into the atmosphere and culture of the many cafes and bistros, and I've tried to capture that beauty and energy in my paintings of Paris. I've also painted cafe scenes from locations in the US such as San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New York. There's nothing better than lingering over a glass of wine and observing human interactions at close hand. A bit voyeuristic, perhaps, but a valuable exercise, I think, to help us understand each other.
A few years ago I was asked by an organization called Spirit Therapies in Las Vegas to create a painting to be donated at a fundraising auction. Spirit Therapies is a non-profit therapeutic riding center that positively impacts the lives of physically and mentally challenged individuals through connecting with trained therapy horses, certified instructors, and compassionate volunteers. One of the first paintings I did was of Honey Bear, a beautiful palomino. Honey Bear was donated to Spirit Therapies by a family in memory of their son, an Iraq war veteran who had suffered severe PTSD and who tragically took his own life. Spirit Therapies has helped so many returning vets, and it was an honor for me to paint some of these beautiful "therapists" -- these gentle, magnificent horses. Horses, I believe, have made an immeasurable contribution to society. They have carried men into battle, plowed fields, worked in mines, pulled wagons, rounded up cattle and provided recreation and entertainment. Painting has been a way for me to celebrate all that they have done for our world.
I enjoy painting each subject and have found that all paintings share the common components and elements of light, color, composition, technique and emotion in order to be considered, at least by me, to be meaningful and successful. I believe that realistic painting, done well, can satisfy both the modernist and the traditionalist, but I detest the saccharine qualities so often found in the genre. I'm interested in creating art that provokes profound feelings, thought, and boundless joy.
Mary Martin Gallery I is located on 103 Broad Street, Charleston, SC 29401 843-723-0303
Mary Martin Gallery II is located on 122 Market Street in Charleston, SC 29401 843-640-3324
Mary Martin Galleries have been selected as the best galleries in South Carolina for nine years in a row and in the top 25 in the nation, Also, selected as the best gallery by several local publications.