Art in Bloom: Cristina Martinez Discusses Her Path as an Artist

By Nicole Choma | April 1, 2022

We live in a period of technological breakthroughs, and certain parts of our lives have evolved to keep up with this boom. An industry that’s been heavily impacted by tech is the world of art. Cristina Martinez is an Afro-Latina visual artist known for her bright artwork depicting strong women and resilience.

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Recently, Martinez collaborated with NTWRK to livestream sell her artwork. NTWRK is a livestream selling platform allowing artists and creators to connect with their audience by giving them exclusive insights and access to their art and products. Previously, Martinez collaborated with NTWRK with collections such as the All-In Weekend Kit, which featured a hand-painted weekender bag made of genuine Columbian leather, a key chain, a leather sketchbook, and a sherpa fleece blanket. This high-demand collection sold out within a minute. Another collection of hers, I See Flowers, featured painted flowers to help others remind themselves about positivity amidst the chaos.

In addition to her current art, Cristina is teaming up with HubSpot to release two products inspired by their Grow Better campaign. All proceeds will be donated to the Y-WE Foundation, which helps young women find their voices and explore the next steps in their careers.

EDITION sat down with Martinez to discuss her journey and get a sneak peek of her forthcoming projects on NTWRK.

See more: Artist Oscar Oiwa Expands Our Imagination Through The ‘If I Were Living In…’ Installation

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When designing your pieces, where do you get your inspiration?

I feel I am constantly keeping myself in a space where I am inspired. I read a lot of books. I travel a lot. I think being so close with my kids and seeing the world through their eyes is always a constant source of inspiration for me and the freedom that they look at the world without having all the knowledge that adults do about the things that are going on around them. I think life and experience and seeing what people go through is one of the biggest things that I try to keep with me in my art – taking challenges and trying to find even the smallest bit of light in them and knowing that it's going to pass. My life is continuing to show me that hard times always pass. I like to find those moments in my experiences and then let those inspire my artwork.

When taking on those challenges, when you choose to create art, what does the right environment look like for you when in that space?

Being a working mom, I think there is no right environment; it’s like when you can do it. Sometimes, the perfect environment really is being at the studio, having all my tools around me, and being able to dive in and go for it – but it's not always what it looks like. Now I'm in a hotel room. My sketchbook is with me, on an airplane sometimes, on my iPad, or in my sketchbook. When I'm creating, it's in my mind.

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As far as getting involved with NTWRK, how did you get started on the platform?

NTWRK reached out a while ago. When it first started, during the pandemic, I was able to create this t-shirt with NTWRK, and the t-shirt had a message of blooming and pushing through and watering yourself. It was a really important time for that kind of message to be heard. I feel that team did well. I was excited to link up with them again and do some more work. It's a comfortable place for me now. You know, I've done a few projects with NTWRK, some by myself, some with my partner Al-Baseer Holly, and they've all been fun.

What does that process feel like when you're doing live selling? What are some of the emotions that go through you?

I think for me, I like it because it keeps me humble. I'm always in the space of, is it going to do well? You try not to think about that when you're creating. I try to just put that out of my mind and create what I feel, what feels natural for me. Then, at that moment, when you release it to the world – no matter what it is – you get to see the way that people interact with it. I think for any artist, it can be nerve-wracking. Maybe some of us will admit it, and some of us won't. You care about something so much like, ‘Okay, I'm going to put it out there in the world,’ and hopefully, people will receive it the way you want them to.

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How did you feel at that moment when you're All-In Weekend Kit sold out in one minute? That must have been amazing!

It's a great feeling when things like that happen. I like to appreciate the moment. It's beautiful to see people connect to the artwork more than anything. I think having people feel an urgency to have something in their hands and be able to get that and feel connected to it in that way. That's always inspiring for me.

Are there any pieces you feel most proud of at the moment?

I feel my most recent piece with NTWRK, Time to Bloom. Time to Bloom is a one-of-one print frame that celebrates women in all their power and encourages growth. I've never done a clock before. This will be something different. I'm excited about that. A clock is something that's so present in your everyday life, whether you look at it for time or it's part of your decoration. The wall clock serves as a reminder to carve out time for moments of connection during your day for recharging, seeking perspective, and fortifying relationships. It’s there in your home. I like to make pieces that become staples in people's homes, or I think about the artwork that was on the walls when I was a kid or things that I remember when I was a kid. Anytime I have the chance to create something that will live in someone's home, I always feel blessed to be able to do that.

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When you said the part about childhood memories and remembering things growing up, I feel that as we get older, we tend to find decorations that remind us of our childhood. So, what’s something we can look forward to in the future from you?

More art. Honestly, I'm excited that things have been so fast-paced and a lot of cool projects. I think slowing down and having studio days and a little less travel. I think right now, the start of spring/summer is kind of quiet. So, I'm looking forward to enjoying the Seattle weather and being in my studio with the windows open and experimenting. When you create projects, sometimes it's hard to experiment because of limitations or time constraints. So, having that freedom again to see where my art wants to go next.

As a follow-up, with the world opening back up, do you feel that it has re-awakened your art?

I think so. We had an event here last night. I think that because of COVID and things being closed down as an artist and not having that interaction in person with people, you can read on the internet and see comments or get emails and see people saying, “We love this piece,” but to actually talk to people about it and see them get emotional and see the way that the art has affected them in person is definitely different. It had been a while since I felt that. In the last couple of weeks, some of the projects and events that I've been able to do has definitely inspired me again.

Photography by: Avi Loud for Nordstrom by Cristina Martinez