One glance at Angus Martin's work and it’s no secret that the Sydney-based artist is a free spirit. In fact, his daydream state is a massive part of Martin's creative process, allowing him the space to let his creativity flow.
The brilliant artist has found a happy marriage of fragmented form and colour, making his work at once unique and meaningful. “Most of my pieces carry deep meaning and are the result of my experiences, and centre around capturing the feelings and emotions that arise from love and relationships,” Martin tells us.
The complexities of music and lyrics have always been a major inspiration to the creative. “Most of my works are titled after lyrics of songs that had a profound influence on me,” Martin explains. "Music can resurface a lot of memories, and if I am drawn to a specific lyric or tune, I’m transported to a particular time or place.”
Angus’s pieces are powerful yet vulnerable and draw on the psychology of colour to elicit emotions in the people that see his works.
The artist is every bit as charming as he sounds, and we’re so excited to welcome him to the Barnaby family. Continue on to get to know Angus and the meaning behind his works, how he's moved from an account manager in Advertising to an artist, and get some of his advice on pursuing creative work as a full-time gig.
"Trust that people are admiring your work because it's a part of who you are and how your mind works, and let this fuel your passion and welcome opportunities."
— ANGUS MARTIN
BL: "What do you do for a living?" is far too broad to answer when most people where many hats! What hats do you wear?
AM: Very true! Most people think Artists paint all day, but it really is a full time, non stop gig. You definitely learn very quickly you need to become an all rounder and juggle a lot of moving parts. I’ve become a Designer, Bookkeeper, Accountant, Social Media Manager, Web Developer, Planner, Manager, Framer, Courier… and lastly painter!
BL: Where did you find your passion and how do you nurture that talent?
AM: Many years ago, I used to be a hairdresser in Adelaide. I soon realized not everyone wanted a fun, creative hairstyle and I became bored with the everyday trims and touch-ups. That’s when I made the decision to study graphic design. I completed an Advanced Diploma of Advertising and Graphic Design and really enjoyed the first year of studies which was heavily centered around the basic fundamentals of graphic design – colour theory, life drawing, sketching and painting. It became normal for me to carry a sketchbook around and look for inspiration in everyday activities and see things in a different way. At the end of the studies I was awarded the South Australian Arts Excellence Award - which was unexpected! I then went on to work in the advertising industry in account management before switching to the creative side as a designer. I had always painted as a creative outlet and thought of it as a hobby that I absolutely loved. The idea of painting full-time was a dream. Eventually, I found myself with a lot of artworks around the house. I thought I’d try to sell some pieces - I got busier than I was ready for and was unable to keep up with orders, and within 6 months of my first sale I quit my job to become a full-time artist. I still find this so surreal and exciting.
BL: Where do you find your inspiration?
AM: I have two major inspirations. The first is music - especially lyrics that I can relate to. Most of my works are titled after lyrics of songs that had a profound influence on me. Music can resurface a lot of memories, and if I am drawn to a specific lyric or tune, I’m transported to a particular time or place. I’ll listen to a song on repeat whilst painting a piece to focus on that specific memory - be it good or bad. I then try to express and capture those emotions through painting.
My second inspiration I owe to my seventh-grade school teacher who told me that it seemed as though I was daydreaming all day in my own world and needed to ‘snap out of it’. I always remembered this and was embarrassed that I came across that way and was programmed to believe it was a bad thing. From that time, I became aware of being more involved and present, although introverts look inwardly to recharge, and this can be conceived as anti-social and shy, when really most people don’t realize is there is a depth of ideas, thoughts and feelings circulating within. It’s only in the past few years that I actually started to realize that my ‘daydream’ state is where my creativity is fueled, and it’s a place where ideas come to life and it’s not a bad place at all.
BL: What overall feeling you hope your artwork conveys?
AM: My goal is to initiate an emotional response which people can relate to their own experiences. The titles of each piece also carry a cryptic, deeper meaning which relate to my memories and the overall experience behind the painting.
BL: How would you describe the style of your work?
AM: I’d describe my style as emotional – most of my pieces carry deep meaning and is the result of my experiences, and centre around capturing the feelings and emotions that arise from love and relationships.
Most pieces are inspired by music and lyrics that I relate to and a lot of the musicians I have always been drawn to are female artists. Music can take you back to a particular time or place – So, I guess it’s my memories, emotions and experiences… Self-portraits in some sense, but because of the musicians I listen to, I think subconsciously the female form flows in all the paintings.
I struggle with letting people know the true insight into the meanings behind pieces, as I find being an artist is like having a diary for the world to view, and letting strangers take little pieces of your story home with them. But I find when I do open up and tell people the meanings behind pieces, the reactions have been so positive. People genuinely love the pieces more knowing the meanings and inspiration behind the artwork. They can relate to them and see them in a different light.
BL: What role does art play in your life?
AM: Being introverted and working in a busy, fast paced, extroverted industry like advertising for many years prior to becoming a full time artist was draining for me. I have since found doing what I love makes everything easier - Art is my therapy, it is a way to slow down and be fully present in what I’m doing… It helps me to find calm in chaos.
BL: What’s your process like? How do you begin a piece?
AM: It varies! And depends on my creative energy… I regularly burn Palo Santo to cleanse the space, uplift the energy and also draw in creative energy. I like being surrounded by plants, lots of natural light, and music, always! I create Original pieces, Custom pieces, Limited Edition pieces and unlimited edition pieces that are made to order and re-created by hand when an order is placed. I like that each one of my unlimited pieces is slightly different in its own way. Custom pieces are quite popular, and I enjoy the process as I get to be creative and turn people’s stories into a painting that holds special meaning to them. I also love creating large one-off originals as I get to experiment with colors and paint from instinct without a certain goal in mind.
BL: Favorite piece to date?
AM: One of the first pieces I created titled ‘Connected’ was inspired by a Chinese Proverb I was really drawn to, and feel is so true, “an invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, despite the time, the place, and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never be broken.”
I love exploring colour psychology too. With all my pieces, I create them in a range of colours that strengthen the intent and meaning behind the piece. Colours are bonded with feelings and emotions - They have the ability to affect our emotions and moods in a way that few other things can. With ‘Connected’ I love this piece painted in pink as the particular colour psychology behind pink strengthens the meaning of being ‘connected’ in a few ways. “The colour pink represents caring, compassion and love. Pink stands for unconditional love and understanding. Pink is romantic, intimate, loving, caring and considerate. It tones down the physical passion from red and replaces it with a gentle and loving energy. Pink is insightful, intuitive and it shows tenderness and kindness from its empathetic and sensitive nature. Pink has a calming effect on our emotional energies and can relieve feelings of anger and neglect. There are studies confirming that being surrounded by the colour pink can have a calming effect on nerves and helps people get in touch with their thoughtful and caring side, either through the need to receive, give or care for others.
BL: What's on your Barnaby Lane wishlist?
BL: Can you give us 5 words to describe you?
AM: Introverted, creative, imaginative, motivated, passionate.
BL: What’s your best bit of advice in regards to creating or creativity?
AM: Find what helps you recharge and schedule time for solitude and reflection… I find a clear mind helps kickstart creative mode.
BL: Any advice for someone who hopes to pursue art as a full-time gig?
AM: Trust your instinct about what feels comfortable and don't take on too much so your art becomes a chore, or something you dread. Trust that people are admiring your work because it's a part of who you are and how your mind works, and let this fuel your passion and welcome opportunities.
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