Meet The Artist All Of L.A. Is Talking About

Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
If you live in this town, you've probably heard about the rising-star artist America Martin. Known for her wildly colorful, large-scale paintings that boast an unshakable stamina, while, at the same time, maintaining a quiet, unaffected nonchalance, the L.A.-born painter works out of a massive Silver Lake studio, overflowing with gleaming buckets of paint and unfinished projects that already pack a serious punch.
Plus, her growing fan base already includes everyone from esteemed critics to affluential art collectors, to some of Hollywood's most in-the-know creatives, including Kirsten Dunst and Giovanni Ribisi. Ahead, come with us as we tour her insanely rad studio, take a sneak peek at her latest works, and talk with her about inspiration, style, and what it's like to have her work hanging in a handful of Hollywood living rooms.
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
At what age did you begin making art?
"When I was small I wanted to be what every other small person wanted to be — I wanted to be a fireman, a princess, a ballerina, and a garbage man. I fell in love with art when I was nine. I bought a Vincent van Gogh book at a garage sale, and that opened my eyes to a whole other world."
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
So, what happened after you bought the Van Gogh book?
"Well, I realized right away that Vincent van Gogh had drawn people in front of him — and they all were looking right at him. So, I would do chores for people around my neighborhood, and, in exchange, they would sit for me and let me draw them. I can’t imagine how patient they were. Imagine just sitting there, having a 9-year-old really trying to draw your face.”
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
Do you get inspired by Van Gogh?
“Absolutely. Van Gogh was my first love, and you never get over your first love. I had a crush on that ginger-bearded man for a long time.”
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
Who else inspires you?
“It’s countless. It’s not just fine art for me. I’m so inspired by so many people that do things and know things that I don’t know. But, as for artists, I love Alexander Calder, Julian Schnabel, Thomas Houseago — there's so many more!"
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
Caught blue-handed.
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
When you're painting something, do you ever find yourself imagining the type of space you’d want it hung in?
“No. The only time I think of where something is going to be is if it’s for a show, and I’ll think about how big the doorway is of the gallery it’s going to be shown in. Because I love to work really large. That’s as far as I go with envisioning anything outside of the piece. I feel like as soon as you are looking at art with an analytical point of view, it loses the purpose because you’re not present in it. It loses all of its emotion.”
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
You have an incredible eye for color.
"Color for me is where it's at. It's the punctuation in your life."
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
How did you first go about selling your art?
“I was really lucky at first. I had a friend when I was 16 who asked to show some of my pieces to her friends. And, she came back to me and said, ‘Oh, guess what, someone wanted to buy one!’ Up until that point, art wasn’t about selling for me. But, when that happened, I realized that this could be something — this could happen for me. “
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
What do you like about your work space?
“I’ve been in my studio now three years. This one is the biggest. My last two studios just had one wall, and I’d only have one canvas up on the wall at a time. I would always get ideas when I was painting, but then just forget them. Now, it’s amazing to be able to have the space to work on different things simultaneously — when one painting is drying, I can run over to another part of the room and get started on something completely different. The process of making art really changes when you have that kind of space.”
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
A home for all the colors.
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
Do you like living in Los Angeles?
“So much! I’m from Los Angeles. I was born in Chinatown. I love Los Angeles. There’s no place like it. It’s a paradise for culture, and there's so many different types of art being made. People are here building their dreams, and it’s fun to explore and see all that is going on.”
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
Without a doubt, this the best water dispenser we've ever seen.
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
Have you ever had that surreal experience of walking into someone’s home and seeing one of your pieces on the wall? And, what if it’s hung in a room or setting that completely clashes with the meaning you intended for it?
“Oh, absolutely! It’s an amazing, surreal thing. When I’m making a piece, I’m completely 100% connected to it. But, after it’s been framed and photographed, it no longer belongs to me. It and I are done. And, then, I’ll see it in someone’s home and maybe they’ve hung it some big, gold, gaudy frame — something I would have never chosen — and that’s what’s so incredibly interesting to me. If you think about it, that is the whole purpose of art, right? People are supposed to interpret for themselves, and put their own view points on it. And, it no longer belongs to that artist and that’s the way it should be. That’s what’s great about the adventure.”
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
Do you ever get stuck or feel uninspired?
"Of course! All the time! But, that's when I know I need to go and observe and explore other people's art."
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
Has your style as an artist evolved over the years?
“You know, the beginning drawings I did when I was nine are very reminiscent of the work I do today – it’s like they have a thumbprint of what I do now. But, the work is always evolving. I think it’s your duty as an artist to never stop learning and absorbing. But, at the same time, you can’t change who you and the way you communicate in art. So, all of my work is definitely recognizable as my own.”
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
What advice would you give young artists who are starting out?
“I think for art to be true, it has to be fresh and you have to be present. That, and that art should be created just for the joy of doing it.”
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Photographed by: Julia Stotz.
What is art to you?
"For me personally, the whole purpose of art is communication. It's a communication I want to have with people."
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