This past Friday, Art House had the pleasure of being visited by the ever talented Martinez EB. Born and raised in Cleveland, Martinez moved out to Chicago to pursue his artistry after graduating from the Cleveland institute of Art. Martinez specializes in conversation starters, wanting to bring to light the problems of gun violence and its effect on children, police violence and other controversial topics. At first glance his art is teddy bears and toys, but a closer look reveals a bold statement about the argumentative and unfortunate reality of today’s society.
His art is whimsical in a way that makes you wonder if your childhood was as simple as you thought or if the world has really changed that much. A few dozen guests watched his presentation, storing questions to ask him later. As serious as a few of his topics were he kept it lighthearted, often making the audience laugh where they may otherwise want to cry. He talked of plans for collaborative projects between Cleveland and Chicago and about his involvement with organizations such as Esperanza. He shared the difficulties of balancing all the different pieces of his life – being an artist, activist, father and teacher. I and everyone who attended the event left feeling inspired to expose the elephant in each of our own rooms. There’s always more that we could do to start the conversation, to see people differently, to change someones life. I loved getting to listen to Martinez speak and I look forward to seeing what he does in the future.