Art of Juan P Martinez

About Me

“I find myself a great deal more concerned with the aesthetics of the physical world, than that confined by a frame or held hostage in a museum. …I’m not interested in discussion or depiction so much as in fighting for those whose voices we choose to ignore, and I’d give up any canvas in a heartbeat to draw instead upon the rubble of empires.”

– Richard Olmsted


Juan P. Martinez

Juan was born in 1981 in a small rural town in Zacatecas, Mexico. In the summer of ‘89 he and his family immigrated to a suburb of Chicago – moving to Chicago some time after High School. In 2009 Juan moved to the Pilsen neighborhood drawn in by the strong cultural ties which he felt absent from living in the suburbs. Juan’s early work consists of drawings/illustrations with subject matter ranging from political figures to surreal dreamscapes. Dark subject matter has always been a presence in his work – much more in his photography which is his preferred media. His most recent work consists mainly of creative portraiture and conceptual ideas inspired by dreams from as early as childhood, thoughts, death and decay. This is demonstrated through the strong light to shadow contrast and detail in his works. His work is shot in analog or digital. Juan has never had a formal education in art or photography. He considers himself his own teacher and student – studying the works of the old masters intensively for their use of lighting and composition and as inspiration – dissecting each image to pin-point the light source and the effect it has on the image’s points of interest. His work has been exhibited locally and published in independent and fine art photography magazines.

“Each piece is like a self portrait; my work says more about me than it does about the subjects portrayed in them”