“I was born in Torreon, Mexico in 1981, I am the youngest of four. My memories of Mexico are few, but of those I do remember I was constantly drawing. Whenever, wherever. My mother reminded me of my gift all the time as I grew up. Always encouraging me. She knew before I did what my true passion would become.
By the age of seven my parents decided to move to California. In Mexico, my father was a lawyer, my mother a doctor. Upon arriving, their employment changed drastically. Now they were washing dishes and housekeeping. Our lives had been flipped upside down. They were tough times, but with that I saw the strength my parents put up and it is something I keep close to me.
I was raised in Indio, California. Throughout school I took art classes, it came easy. After graduating from high school, I decided (with the encouragement of family) to move to Santa Monica and attend The Art Institute where I chose to study Computer Animation. While in school, the tragedy of September 11th hit and after that happened it left me feeling inadequate in my life. I needed something more, my heart wasn’t in animation nor school anymore. While walking passed an Army Recruitment office I went in and sat down. A few hours later I was signed up and to be leaving for boot camp within weeks.
I spent three years in the Army. Within that time art took a backseat. Dabbling here and there but nothing serious. It really wasn’t until about two years after the Army that I was given two huge pieces of MDO board to paint on. It was truly the beginning of my journey back into art.
My heart and hand took over. I sketched, I painted till late in the night. Painting on everything from shoes to bags, to just about anything. In less than a month I filled a sketchbook full of Elvgren pinups and Olivia paintings. Soon after all that, I started working at a tattoo shop. The tattoo world inspired my artwork with a whole new life and passion. The knowledge and history of the industry was incredible to me.
It has now been 10 years in this profession. Art has given me so much knowledge of maturity and growth, and I will continue to pursue it with my whole being. It is my air and my life. I would say that in every piece I create I learn something new in what ever the context of the painting brings. Each detail, each decision of color, it has become an education all in its own.
I am definitely a workaholic with painting, and honestly, I love what I do. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. I truly eat, breath and sleep art. I work hard and will continue to do so whatever it may be.
Last but not least I am a devoted father, husband and family man, but non the less a truly passionate artist.
Thank you for being here and reading my story.”
(📸: Tom Martinez Jr)