Miguel Martinez (New Mexico, b. 1951), "Pilgrimage to Chimayo", 1994, pastel on paper, 30 x 40", unframed
The youngest son of Hispanic parents, Miguel Martinez was born in Taos, New Mexico in 1951.He discovered his interest in the arts during high school where he enjoyed his hands-on experience with paints, clay and other media. Later, after becoming a successful jewelry designer, he turned to painting, which he believed would more fully express what he wanted to say in his art. He committed himself completely to a study of this discipline, spending five years working with several prominent New Mexico artists. Also, early on he was inspired by Mexican artists Rivera and Zuniga for their portrayal of the dignity of common folk, and he admired Modigliani's works of powerful and poignant human emotions. He knew these were the kinds of messages stirring in his soul and waiting to be painted.Still in his early twenties, Miguel found a style, which has become his signature. Moved by deep respect and admiration, he began a series of large faces of women, enlarging and stylizing the eyes,and endowed them with mystery of illusive and provocative expressions. He has created them in an ambiance of everyday life, giving them a voice which has inordinately proved to speak to the hearts of a universal following.After almost twenty years this series continues, though Miguel says, "The women have changed as time passed, and I have changed as well. In my travels around the world, the women I have encountered have all found their way into my paintings. Each face I paint, to me, has a different identity. But I feel from the beginning they have all shared a common bond -- their values, their character -- things almost forgotten in our everyday day routines. These women are upright, strong yet gentle, proud of who they are. They have nothing to hide."