Fish become knives, alligators become saws, the artist himself becomes a Nokia phone – John Martin is one of the most fascinating contemporary Black American artists working today. The publication builds an understanding of and appreciation for his unique visual language and work outside of the arts and disability communities.
John Martin was born in 1963 in Marks, Mississippi and lives and works in Oakland, California at Creative Growth Art Center. Martin creates drawings, ceramics, and woodwork that synthesize his memories of a family farm in Mississippi with his modern life in Oakland. Martin commonly depicts images of items from his collection of found objects. His interpretations both describe their function and subvert practicality through his outrageous animal mash-ups, oversized Leatherman tools, and mysterious text. His wry sense of humor is evident in all of his compositions, translating utilitarian imagery into a graphic and animated aesthetic.