James Martin

James Martin was born in Everett, Washington over seventy years ago. He grew up in Ballard, Washington and dropped out of high school, later earning his degree at night. He entered the University of Washington as an art major and went on to receive his bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. Mr. Martin now makes his home in the Seattle area.

An artist for all of his adult life, Mr. Martin's style can be defined as somewhere between folk art and illustration. But what makes his work appealing is the strange darkness that seems to lurk just outside the frame in many of his odd little narratives. Because of his creative writing background, his playful offbeat little paintings make perfect sense; he is painting stories.

Mr. Martin has the knack for capturing dreamlike images. His weird and whimsical works exemplify all of the emotions and illogic of dreams; the mixture of animals, people, and the animated objects. Mr. Martin also uses famous characters from show business and art history. Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Mona Lisa pop up from time to time in his paintings. He even occasionally gets his ideas from dreams and late night talk radio about flying saucers.

Some artists are inspired by landscape, others by myth, or the faces they see around them, James Martin is inspired by art and other artists. He credits Picasso with teaching him that an artist must record his own experience and Marc Chagall with the admonition that a painter should develop a style as un-self conscious as his handwriting.

Mr. Martin has a strong and loyal following with the discerning and wealthy patrons of the arts including opera singer Roberta Peters, pianist-composer Andre Previn, the late actor Charles Laughton, real-estate mogul Martin Selig and financier William Boeing, Jr. He has exhibited in many galleries in the Northwest over the years.