WRITTEN BY KATE KING
Martina Martian is the unexpected, underdog in art. The work that emanates positivity and reflects messages forgotten by most women, has a strong business woman backing it. She isn't shy to express her opinion or share her thoughts on what people have to say about her work. She has collaborated with companies such as Adobe and Getty images, which at the age of 23 is something anyone would be proud of. Especially an independent, businesswoman and artist. Her work has been described as ‘girly’ and ‘feminine’, but Martina has a different take on what her work encompasses.
“I do get a lot of people calling my work 'girly' in a tone that suggests it shouldn't be taken seriously, which sucks. I know a lot of male artists who heavily use pink or florals too and their work is never described as cute or girly, so it's confusing and frustrating to see my work dismissed as such,”
Her work is featured heavily on instagram as stickers for stories and have become popular among female users. With stickers boldly expressing messages of female empowerment, it’s no wonder that her designs have become so popular. Although she has made her career as large as it is now on her own terms, there are of course struggles that many face entering the business world and finding a happy medium between art and business.
“I've found that the more success I gain in my career, the more I find myself 'playing down' what I do and underselling myself. I'm not sure men have as big an issue with imposter syndrome, but it's been my biggest hurdle as a 23 year old woman navigating the art world,”
Martina’s work has taken her worldwide and has seen her hosting workshops internationally and having the opportunity to work alongside other inspiring artists. Martina says that although she isn't directly influenced in her work by anyone, having the opportunity to meet other artists and see their work allows her to gain inspiration and chat about each others careers.
“I went to the Adobe Max conference in LA, it’s basically this massive school camp but everyone there is a famous illustrator so it’s just insane. I met so many amazing artists and illustrators there and it was just heartwarming to be brought into the community like that”.
Through her travels, Martina has not only met hundreds of interesting people, but she has been given opportunities for self reflection and freedom to create.
“I think for me travelling meant that I had a certain amount of freedom because not everyone obviously can take four months to go travel. It was symbolic to me as like achieving something in my career, that if I could go and be free and travel the world that meant that I had the right job and that’s what would suit me the most. I grew up travelling, my parents were very into travel so they instilled that kind of value system in me which was that it’s important to go and experience the world and see as much as possible, and that life experience is more important than material things. It was instilled in me from the very beginning, I always wanted to travel.”
The only instance in which Martina’s work can be considered ‘girly’ is if it is influencing young women to be stronger, confident and independent. If that is how ‘girly’ is defined then so be it. The messages that she portrays in her work are inspiring to most and beautiful to many. Although her medium is mostly online, she has recently delved into a slightly more powerful medium of creating.
“I’ve been delving a little into bringing my work into 3D, which is really exciting. So I’ve been doing a bit of woodwork and installations and props, because I felt like I wanted to branch out and it’s been going really well. Because I’m digital, so it’s really different to work with my hands, I love it!”
“There’s something really powerful about being a young woman who makes girly work with a power tool.”
When women publish positive and inspiring creations, it can be hard to understand that they are human too. They face struggles and they too have problems in their life. Martina, just like everyone else may not always practice what she preaches, but tries to practice self care and love even when she may not be feeling as confident.
“I share a lot of my life on Instagram in an effort to show people that my work is coming from a genuine place. I’m not just creating positive work, I'm trying to live out each message too and really embrace life. That being said, when I went through a break up last year I found myself in such a black hole that it didn't feel authentic to create or post my usual positive artworks. I had to truly practice what I preach by just taking my own advice and slowing down, getting off Instagram and looking after myself.”
In her stickers, messages of self love are scribed and its important to remember, especially within creating, that doing things for yourself is first and foremost the important aspect. Martina shares this view of ‘doing it for yourself’ and her advice for any other young women, creators or not, is, “Just doing it for yourself. Whether it's your career or your happiness, make sure you’re thinking of yourself too. I think we’ve really been conditioned to put other people first and we’ve been told we have to be caretakers, so yeah do it for yourself and honestly everything! Don’t be thinking about money, with art I would always be doing this and I would be doing it for me and if you are, then people respond because it’s personal.”
Before parting with Martina, she gave us one small insight into what her 2019 goal is and what her attitude coming into the new years is:
To stop minimising myself or my career just to accommodate a man's ego.
Martina’s attitude to work and her life is so enlightening to see and experience. Her work takes her to places around the world that are unfamiliar in the simplest of ways, but her messages and mission in art are unwavering. Her work has certainly inspired us here at Maidenhair Press and proves to us just how important the arts are and how crucial it is to give women in business a platform to express their work and their opinions.
Kate is our Editor in Chief. She is the creative brains behind the operation. Most importantly, picking the brains of our amazing feature artists and sharing her words with you all.