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Realist Painter Looks to Suburbia for Inspiration

Brian Martin considered "up and coming American painter."

Painter Brian Martin remembers role-playing as a child.

“I would teach art class, and my big lesson was ‘How to Draw Ernie,’” he says, amused. “So I guess art was always there.”

Martin grew up in Pennsylvania, attended RISD as an Illustration undergrad and went back to Indiana to receive his graduate degree in painting. He seems a gentle, mild mannered soul, though his paintings reflect an air of mystery, intrigue and even drama. He is a realist painter and his subject matter is varied, with cool dark suburban landscapes and tumultuous cloud-filled skies as recurring visual themes.

“I’ve been finding the hidden narratives in the suburban or American landscape. The icon of the perfect house and perfect family is really boring,” says Martin. “In my experience it’s much more interesting than that, and I try to show that. I like to create psychologically evoking images that are simultaneously strange and familiar.”

Though he is in the midst of a move back to Providence, Martin and his wife (also an artist and RISD grad) have been living in Seekonk with their young son at his in-laws house. Because of space considerations he hasn’t been able to work on bigger pieces, so he challenged himself to making one small painting a day. The results are quite impressive.

Martin is also working on three pieces for a show in Australia that will open at the end of the year. He and two other painter friends were all invited to the exhibition as “up and coming American realist painters.” His work has been seen in galleries from Texas to New England, and he is repped by the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia.

If painting for exhibitions and keeping up with a young son wasn’t enough, Martin also teaches at North Essex Community College in Haverhill.

“I love being at the easel, but teaching gets me around engaged creative people who want to learn, and I can bring that back to my own work,” said Martin.

 To see more of Brian Martin’s oil paintings visit his website here.

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